The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has revealed an immigration policy that the Donald Trump administration secretly signed and pushed through as part of an executive order broadening the scope of deportations. The policy could allow the federal government to publicly release the personal information of any foreign visitor the the United States.
The ACLU is an advocacy group that fiercely defends the Constitutional rights that every person within America’s borders has, regardless of their nationality or immigration status. It is deeply concerned by the abuses that this policy permits.
The organization gave a statement which includes the following:
Over the last month, the Trump administration has waged a war on the rights of immigrants and foreigners — including by issuing a policy that strips away basic privacy protections that have been provided by Democratic and Republican presidents for decades.
[The policy] could let the Trump administration release the names and private information of non-U.S. citizens — including refugees, college students, tourists, and people here on work visas. The new policy could also make it easier for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to obtain information from other agencies that can be used to detain or deport people.
What the executive order did was exclude all of these people from receiving the protections of the Privacy Act of 1974, which limits the government’s sharing of personal information without permission.
There are all kinds of personal information about noncitizens that the federal government collects that could be vulnerable to disclosure. Those who submit immigration applications, such as applications for student or fiancé visas, could have their personal information — including home addresses — shared publicly, threatening their safety. Immigrant workers who report violations of workplace laws to the Department of Labor could have their information more easily disclosed to hostile employers or immigration enforcement officials. The same could happen to refugees who have been resettled in the United States.
Privacy is a human right that isn’t just for American citizens and permanent residents. If the Trump administration intends to move forward, we will continue to fight the plan and its unlawful implementation.