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ICE's Racist "Extreme Vetting Initiative"

Having learned nothing from when we targeted Japanese Americans and put them into internment camps...

ICE's proposed "Extreme Vetting Initiative" (EVI) aims to use automated machine learning and social media monitoring vet visa applicants, generate leads for deportation, and continuously monitor people within the U.S.
ICE has plans to hire a third party contractor to design algorithms that will continuously trawl through the social media accounts of everyone inside the country. Their program aims to evaluate whether an individual will become "a positively contributing member of society" or whether they "intend to commit criminal or terrorist attacks" - language lifted directly from the president's Muslim Ban executive orders. This Extreme Vetting Initiative is tailor made for discrimination, and given our country's history in doing just that, we need to make sure that this program never gets off the ground.

On President's Day this year, we marked the 76th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which was signed by Roosevelt to forcibly remove over 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent to incarceration sites during WWII. This is an explicit example of how the government used its discretion to decide someone's "ability to contribute to national interests" and because of wartime hysteria and racism, they decided Japanese Americans as a whole failed to do so.

Japanese American communities were also long surveilled before being forcibly removed to prison camps. They were treated as the enemy despite citizenship or green card standing. Similar to the implications of social media monitoring, Japanese Americans were also subjected to ideological monitoring based on criteria of whether they'd "contribute to American society".


ICE's use of social media monitoring will only serve to chill free speech while targeting people of color, naturalized citizens, and long term visa holders. We know that ICE will inevitably share this information with other agencies and more people will be caught in the dragnet. Congress needs to take action and press DHS to end the program before it's deployed.


By min | February 25, 2018, 12:43 PM | Liberal Outrage