Vigilant Solutions has amassed a database of more than 2 billion license plate photos by ingesting data from partners like vehicle repossession agencies and other private groups. Vigilant also partners with local law enforcement agencies, often collecting even more data from camera-equipped police cars. The result is a massive vehicle-tracking network generating as many as 100 million sightings per month, each tagged with a date, time, and GPS coordinates of the sighting.
ICE agents would be able to query that database in two ways. A historical search would turn up every place a given license plate has been spotted in the last five years, a detailed record of the target's movements. That data could be used to find a given subject's residence or even identify associates if a given car is regularly spotted in a specific parking lot. [...]
ICE agents can also receive instantaneous email alerts whenever a new record of a particular plate is found [...] With sightings flooding in from police dashcams and stationary readers on bridges and toll booths, it would be hard for anyone on the list to stay unnoticed for long. [...]
The biggest concern for critics is the sheer scale of Vigilant's network, assembled almost entirely outside of public accountability. "If ICE were to propose a system that would do what Vigilant does, there would be a huge privacy uproar and I don't think Congress would approve it," Stanley says. "But because it's a private contract, they can sidestep that process."
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reportedly planning massive sweeps in Northern California in response to Gov. Jerry Brown's signing of the California Values Act, a law that prohibits the use of local and state tax dollars to assist in federal civil immigration enforcement. [...]
"ICE's threats are outrageous and designed to terrorize immigrant community members. But we will not be afraid. Our highly trained staff stands ready to defend the rights of all San Franciscans regardless of immigration status," said Adachi.
There is no evidence to support claims made by ICE officials that sanctuary policies compromise public safety, and a host of studies, including one from the Journal of Law and Economics, that found no correlation between public safety and increased deportation. There is little dispute that immigrants commit fewer crimes than citizens. And, the Center of American Progress found that sanctuary jurisdictions are actually safer than those without sanctuary policies.
ICE regularly engages in enforcement action without any judicial oversight. Under the Bush Administration, ICE agents routinely raided homes without warrants, where they arrested people on sight, often breaking up families in the middle of the night. ICE often acts in secret, and provides very little information to the public about their operations.