ICE Data Leak Made 6,000 Immigrants’ Information Public

In a Nutshell

An ICE leak compromised the data of 6,252 immigrants fleeing from torture and persecution. ICE has said they will conduct an internal investigation as this leak was a breach of their internal policy.

Written by ImmigrationHelp News Team
Written December 6, 2022

The process of adjusting one’s immigration status is stressful and often requires applicants to talk about experiences they’d rather keep private. This is especially the case for people who were whistleblowers, exiles, or who fear persecution of any kind from the government of the country they’re fleeing from. 

Unfortunately, a leak from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) compromised the identifying information of 6,252 immigrants seeking protection in the U.S. from torture and persecution. Several immigrants listed in the spreadsheet are from countries such as Russia, Iran, and China. The United States has varying challenges when dealing with these governments, as do people who leave.

Privacy rights for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are already an issue of concern, as states and immigration agencies manage immigrants’ personal data in an insecure “complex and opaque web of databases, related systems, and information-sharing mechanisms” (ILRC). In 2021, for example, Colorado state legislators sponsored a bill to protect the data of undocumented immigrants after they learned that state employees helped federal agencies get access to data on undocumented immigrants who received driver’s licenses.   

The leak in question occurred on November 28, 2022. After Human Rights First notified ICE that the spreadsheet was public, ICE removed it from public view. The information may have been public for as long as five hours. As of now, ICE has asked people who downloaded the spreadsheet to delete it from their computers, but this is difficult for any government agency to enforce. According to ICE, a breach of this kind is against the organization’s policy and the organization is conducting an internal investigation to figure out how it happened. 

ICE has said they will notify anyone affected by this leak and are monitoring the internet for any data reposts. We’ll continue to update readers on any new developments as available.