FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 25, 2017
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STATEMENT FROM ACTING COMMISSIONER OF MAYOR’S OFFICE OF IMMIGRANT AFFAIRS BITTA MOSTOFI ON FEDERAL ATTEMPTS TO LIMIT TRANSPARENCY AND VIOLATE INDIVIDUALS’ PRIVACY
Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs' Acting Commissioner Bitta Mostofi joined leaders from across the nation in expressing concerns regarding proposed policy changes from the Department of Homeland Security that would allow the federal government to withhold critical information from individuals attempting to access their personal immigration files, and would subject citizens and immigrants alike to inappropriate and overbroad social media information collection. The full letter is available here.
"The Trump Administration is undermining fundamental rights to privacy and information. While encouraging the classification of immigration files, known as 'A-Files,' and social media information collection are shrouded in bureaucratic complexity, we see the potential consequences clearly: preventing Legal Permanent Residents and other immigrants from mounting effective cases to change their immigration status or remain in this country, and subjecting individuals to digital vetting without any clear benefit to national security.
"Any measure that restricts individuals from accessing their own information held within A-Files unnecessarily deprives them of due process. As such, we have requested that DHS make clear that A-Files should only be classified according to well-established protocol, and only for the narrow scope of cases where classification is clearly in the interest of national security. In addition, attempts to ramp-up social media and Internet data collection bring us one step closer to a surveillance state. Any additional information collection must be justified in terms of benefits to national security, particularly since these changes could impact a range of individuals, including permanent residents and naturalized U.S. citizens."