The length to which state immigration enforcement has come to in recent months is ludicrous. A handful of states can already be considered police states with their law enforcement actively going above and beyond to snatch every “foreign-looking or speaking” person residing in their state. Now, Texas has joined the “Big Brother” group and is requesting the help of innovative tech companies to expand their reach.
The Dallas office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has asked companies to help design a way to use a national database to find vehicles of illegal immigrant drivers; while they are claiming their will utilize this technology only to find fugitive immigrants, that alleged motive is highly questionable. Dani Bennett, a spokeswoman for the agency, described the system as a “widely used mobile law enforcement database tool” that works by tapping into a database of license plate images captured by a national network of cameras. The cameras stream their information to the National Vehicle Location Service, a partnership between law enforcement and private businesses, including car-financing companies.
They are strategically placed in stationary locations and on police cars in 27 metropolitan areas all over Dallas, scanning and capturing the tags of vehicles and comparing them to a list of “pursuits” in a way that authorities are alerted whenever a match is done. The Dallas office claims that “it would allow officers to identify the whereabouts of vehicles registered in the system, in order to better locate and apprehend at-large, convicted criminal aliens.” Yet we beg to differ. We believe this system may very well be used and abused by law enforcement officers to needlessly target innocent immigrants.
For now, the Dallas office claims to only be requesting this technology, but there is no denying that they will put it to use as soon as it is developed. While the potential inherent in technology to facilitate our lives and create progress is flabbergasting, that great power also comes with great responsibility, and in this case it is our civic duty to respect the civil liberties of every human being or otherwise risk the regressing of all the progress we have achieve thus far.