ACLU: CT police helping ICE track targets

March 13, 2019 GMT

HARTFORD — Police in Fairfield, Westport, Stratford, Trumbull and Norwalk have been assisting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in providing the locations of residents for a mass-surveillance program, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

A report released today by the ACLU’s Northern California office charges that in all, eight Connecticut law-enforcement agencies, including Southern Connecticut State University, Enfield and Wethersfield have been providing the information in apparent violation of Connecticut state law.

In all, 80 law enforcement entities across the country have given ICE assistance, including location information through a wide-ranging license-plate database tracking daily movements of potential ICE targets.

“This is the latest example of why Connecticut needs a multitude of safeguards to take control of police surveillance and limit local law enforcement’s cooperation with ICE,” said David McGuire, ACLU of Connecticut executive director. “All eight of these Connecticut police departments must immediately stop sharing their residents’ information with this rogue and immoral agency, and Connecticut’s legislature must step up to pass a statewide law to take control over police surveillance, create privacy protections if the state adopts electronic tolls, and pass a bill to strengthen the TRUST Act.”

Rep. Steve Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport, co-chairman of the legislative Judiciary Committee, said the report is disturbing, but stressed that pending bills would close several loopholes in the current law. One proposal would require local government to report to the state data regarding individuals to whom local law enforcement has provided ICE access.

“If proven true, this report is very concerning,” he said. “Just last week, the Judiciary Committee heard heart-wrenching testimony as to how families in our state are being ripped apart by ICE’s extreme deportation tactics. Connecticut was a leader in passing the first TRUST Act as way of making sure individuals living in our state have an opportunity to seek help, to go to police officers when they are victims of crimes, and to interact with government without the fear of being deported. Local government should not be violating the spirit of that law and using their limited resources to do ICE’s job for it.”