[Pnews] The Future of Immigration Enforcement and Surveillance

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Sep 4 15:04:24 EDT 2019


https://medium.com/nodigitalprisons/the-future-of-immigration-enforcement-and-surveillance-b961ed0bca8c 



  The Future of Immigration Enforcement and Surveillance

September 4, 2019
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Part Two of a conversation between James Kilgore and Daniel Gonzalez
    on the ever-expanding electronic infrastructure used to monitor
    migrants. Read Part One here
    <https://medium.com/nodigitalprisons/how-gps-is-playing-a-critical-role-for-ice-e86694d4f4d5>.

*James Kilgore: It’s important that we not view **what happened in 
Mississippi* 
<https://www.democracynow.org/2019/8/9/mississippi_ice_raids_poultry_plant_arrests>*recently 
as an isolated event or an anomaly. In your research you highlighted a 
raid on two Nebraska plants almost a year to the day before the early 
August ICE attack on Mississippi plants that resulted in the capture of 
nearly 700 people. These are not coincidental events. You noted that the 
timing seemed to coincide with reducing the costs of employers. Could 
you explain this? Do you think this is common practice?*

*Daniel Gonzalez: *Two caveats: At the moment we neither have 
operational details about the Mississippi raids, nor confirmation that 
DHS has implemented the above-mentioned prototypes. However, recent news 
<https://truthout.org/video/mississippi-ice-raids-targeted-workers-who-fought-for-better-conditions/> 
reports about the union-busting aim of the Mississippi raids corroborate 
my proposal that information management practices monitor migrants’ 
whereabouts /and/ their labor productivity. Also illustrative are the 
raids in Nebraska, which coincided with the end of the tomato and potato 
growing and processing seasons — and end of the need for harvesters. For 
both Mississippi and Nebraska, the raids did not hinder the corporations 
themselves and may have actually benefited them. In Mississippi the 
administration avoided union power; in Nebraska the companies saved a 
lot of money because they didn’t have to pay people who had just worked 
a 70-hour work week to finish up the season and whose labor was no 
longer needed. Although the raids targeted employers of “illegal” labor, 
tellingly, neither the owners nor high-level management were disciplined.

*James: You mentioned an ICE program called Investigative Case 
Management (ICM) earlier. Can you say a little more about ICM and 
suggest how it might involve electronic monitoring?*

*Daniel:* ICM is a version of Palantir’s Gotham Platform 
<https://www.palantir.com/palantir-gotham/>, an information management 
system, that links a network of public and private databases. DHS 
explains 
<https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/privacy-pia-ice-icm-june2016.pdf>: 
“ICM contains extensive information related to individuals including 
targets of investigations, associates of targets, victims, informants, 
and other third parties. This includes . . . identifying data, as well 
as information about individuals’ locations and activities.” Through 
ICM, ICE determines the most efficient way to create targets, cases, and 
operations. EM is just the tip of the iceberg. EM is one of many data 
technologies that puts dots on a map (see here 
<http://www.advantage-monitoring.com/images/veritracks1lg.jpg>), but ICM 
connects those dots (like this 
<https://static.crozdesk.com/web_app_library/screenshots/images/000/009/909/screenshot/palantir-gotham-screenshot-5.png?1559232783>). 
If these practices aren’t alarming enough, ICE doing business with 
Palantir, whose co-founder, Peter Thiel, professed in his 2009 manifesto 
<https://www.cato-unbound.org/2009/04/13/peter-thiel/education-libertarian>: 
“I no longer believe that freedom [i.e. capitalism] and democracy are 
compatible,” should raise huge concerns.

*James: ICM seems to be taking us in new, often scary directions. Given 
that, what do you see as the future direction of electronic monitoring 
and surveillance more generally, especially as it applies to immigration 
enforcement?*

*Daniel:* I see a switch happening: surveillance is targeting both 
individuals and entire groups or social networks. As I mentioned 
earlier, regarding immigration enforcement, EM plays only a small part. 
The bigger concern is systems like ICM that incorporate EM’s geographic 
information while also folding in data from a person’s entire social 
network, which includes data on both noncitizens /and/ citizens. So, 
everyone associated with a person in the ICM system is now potentially 
put under DHS’s watch. As indicated by Thiel’s manifesto, these 
technologies should be seen as part of a larger political economic 
project that is trying to strip away democracy and human and civil rights.

*James: What tools and methods can we use to resist this further 
expansion of the surveillance state and the criminalization of immigrants?*

*Daniel:* This is difficult because we do not fully understand how all 
of this works. Currently, I see successful models of resistance: 
activist groups, like Mijente <https://mijente.net/notechforice/>, are 
confronting the surveillance industry. Tech workers and students 
<https://slate.com/technology/2019/08/stanford-tech-students-backlash-google-facebook-palantir.html> 
have been challenging their field’s general practices. In our everyday 
lives, we should all be more cautious of the data and information we 
produce. I also think using similar technologies, such as social media, 
as a form of resistance is a Faustian bargain — on the one hand these 
platforms provide helpful information and even spread necessary 
awareness of state violence, but on the other hand they may extend the 
capacity of technologies like ICM. Without democratic ownership or 
control of the underlying information infrastructures “social media” is 
not that social. Finally, as we (rightfully) oppose the tech industry, 
we must also consider why the state has invested billions into this 
technology. If something like ICM proves successful, then more and more 
people that have historically been rendered as problems (noncitizen and 
citizen) will be governed under surveillance and computational procedure.

    If something like ICM proves successful, then more and more people
    that have historically been rendered as problems (noncitizen and
    citizen) will be governed under surveillance and computational
    procedure.

*James:* So I think an important part of what you are saying is not only 
that we don’t fully understand how all of this works, but that we don’t 
fully understand how to organize or what organizational forms we will 
need to roll this back. In Challenging E-Carceration and 
#NoDigitalPrisons we have largely been focusing on how ankle shackles 
are increasingly used on people with criminal cases, whether it be as a 
condition of pretrial release, an added burden of parole or as part of a 
youth court determination. But what is happening under ICE and DHS is 
much more complicated and sinister than that.

As you suggest in your closing comments, this ICE methodology also lays 
a foundation for tracking and profiling entire communities by combining 
EM with the numerous databases in which poor and criminalized people, 
disproportionately Black and brown, are already captured. These are -the 
databases of the poor and criminalized-public benefits, family court and 
DCFS, school discipline, mental health, etc. In addition, it isn’t 
difficult to see how these systems can create and target networks of 
activists to keep an eye on them or undermine their activities and 
organizations. Looking back at COINTELPRO 
<https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/08/fbi-cointelpro-new-left-panthers-muslim-surveillance>of 
the 60s and 70s we see that this can happen either through disrupting 
information systems or more direct policing informed by data collection. 
This also highlights the burning need to be linking the struggles in the 
immigration and criminal legal spheres in ways that we have not done 
very effectively to date. Liberation can never come by remaining in 
siloes. We need solidarity and movements that connect the dots. Your 
work makes that all the more evident. Thank you so much for your amazing 
work.

/James Kilgore is a Media Fellow at Media Justice. He directs the 
Challenging E-Carceration project as part of the #NoDigitalPrisons 
campaign and was a 2017 Soros Justice Fellow. He is the author of five 
books, including the award-winning //Understanding Mass Incarceration:A 
People’s Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time./ 
<https://thenewpress.com/books/understanding-mass-incarceration>/In his 
community of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois he is Co-Director of 
FirstFollowers Reentry Program./

/Daniel Gonzalez is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography and 
Geographic Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 
His research focuses on the science and technologies of racial 
capitalism, particularly as they pertain to regimes of US border 
enforcement and immigration management./

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