The Department of Homeland Security is muzzling local law enforcement agencies regarding their efforts to enforce federal immigration laws in order to protect the "privacy" of illegal aliens.
Any information about local police enforcement actions must now be cleared through the DHS's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division before it can be released to the media or the public.
Kelly Nantel, press secretary for ICE, told CNSNews that although illegal aliens are not protected under the Privacy Act of 1974, the DHS's policy is to extend the privacy protection to individuals who are in the U.S. illegally.
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"Any information regarding individuals encountered through the enforcement of federal law is ultimately protected."
Agreements between the DHS and local law enforcement agencies guide the 287(g) program, created in 2003 to train and certify state and local law enforcement personnel to enforce immigration law.
In July, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said those agreements would be "standardized" and reviewed, and in August she said the agreements had been "rewritten and reprioritized to focus on using them in jails and prisons."
DHS and ICE officials say enforcement of federal immigration law will focus on "criminal aliens" and not on individuals who are simply in the U.S. illegally.
CNSNews observed: "Reporters or members of the public who want information arising from a local law enforcement agency's efforts to enforce immigration law will be forced to file a Freedom of Information Act request to gain access to information that is not classified and which the public is entitled to see."
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