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Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government

Immigration Agencies All Atwitter over Intrusive Technology

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These days, the news on immigration seems like one large and scary technology mashup. The evidence is everywhere:

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) publishes a final rule that authorizes the taking of DNA specimens from persons merely detained (not necessarily found liable) for alleged civil violations of the immigration laws.

  • DHS reports to Congress on its data mining activities as the ACLU's Legislative Counsel, Timothy Sparapani, criticizes predictive data mining as a "categorical and unmitigated waste of taxpayer dollars . . . akin to alchemy or astrology in its relationship to science."

  • Congress considers legislation that would reign in the practice of a DHS unit (Customs and Border Protection) in seizing and searching the laptops and cellphones of U.S. citizens and lawful residents at U.S. ports of entry without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) awards IBM almost a half billion dollar contract that the vendor claims will produce technology to "serve as a key piece to enable the Agency to speed benefits determination, combat identity fraud, and reduce processing time backlogs."

  • The American Council for International Personnel reports in unofficial minutes of its liaison meeting with the USCIS California Service Center that "USCIS is looking more on the internet for publicly available information to verify an issue to resolve it before issuing [a request for additional evidence (RFE)]" -- all the better to jump to a hasty conclusion and issue a mistaken RFE.

  • E-Verify offiials offer webinars to federal contractors (on December 11 at 10:00 AM EST, December 18 at 12:00 PM EST and December 22 at 2:00 PM EST) by calling (888) 464-4218 or emailing and providing your name, company's name, and phone number.

  • USCIS has gone all Web 2.0 on us by posting its tweets on Twitter.

Meantime, in the Luddite world of technophones, we learn that -- shades of Mitt Romney! -- DHS has fined the housecleaning service of its boss, Michael Chertoff, for employing unauthorized foreign workers, while the chief CBP officer in New England, Lorraine Henderson, is indicted for the felony of allegedly harboring an undocumented Brazilian house cleaner.

I guess the lesson from all of these ominous portents can be summed up in the secretly recorded warning that erstwhile CBP Chief  Henderson reportedly offered her housekeeper two days shy of the 7th anniversary of Sept. 11: "You have to be careful 'cause they will deport you. Be careful."

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  1. Brittanicus's Avatar
    State Governors have gone to Washington, cap-in-hand--looking for taxpayer bailouts. Why are Americans ignoring the fact that places as Los Angeles, San Francisco--other states and cities-- have been financially supporting millions of low income, uneducated illegal aliens for years who are incessantly exploited by parasite businesses. 37 million in the United States, according to Tucson BP Union. Millions more ready to pour across the border, after Obama steps in to the Oval Office. Millions of people have become a taxpayers charge because those who slipped into America by any means have less than an 8th grade education. Stimulate the US with imported engineers, scientists and university graduates who are not going to cost the taxpayers billions of hard-earned dollars.

    Thousands of citizens and legal residents have been murdered or otherwise victimized, under the illegal local government 'Sanctuary' policies. Read the facts at,, www and Only here can you read about the illegal immigration invasion and the consequences of OVERPOPULATION.
  2. Jenda's Avatar
    Data mining in the 1970s and early 1980s broke the back of leftist terrorist groups in Germany. I have a hard time believing that it would be all that much less effective nowadays, even with the government doing it. Millions of marketers cannot be wrong all the time.
    As for taking DNA samples from those arrested, the idea is hardly limited, even in federal cases, to those arrested for immigration violations. I leave the merits of privacy arguments to those who care more about the issue (though the following - "Typically, DNA is taken from suspects via a swab of saliva. A DNA "profile" -- or unique numeric signature -- is generated, which can be stored without including private genetic information." is reassuring to me), but it does appreciably increase the accuracy of any database use to convict someone based on a DNA match and increase the odds that a sample will not match an innocent person's in the same manner fingerprints in the AFIS database do.
  3. Angelo Paparelli's Avatar

    Frankly, I'm not sure where I come down on the data mining issue. If the technology is no more reliable than alchemy, I'm against it. If it works, if meaningful privacy protections can be put into effect (recall how a State Department contractor accessed the passport application files of many Presidential contenders recently), then I would support a limited pilot program.

    But as for DNA swabs, even if it is allowed for criminal suspects, that doesn't justify DNA sampling of persons charged with civil immigration violations (unless we provide immigration defense counsel paid at government expense for all persons so charged).

    Angelo Paparelli
  4. Angelo Paparelli's Avatar

    You have your facts wrong on unauthorized immigrants. Go to, and check out these links from the Immigration Policy Center ( and get the straight scoop by drilling down on the Research Topics.

    But we do agree on your comment:

    Stimulate the US with imported engineers, scientists and university graduates who are not going to cost the taxpayers billions of hard-earned dollars.

    Angelo Paparelli
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