In North Carolina, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bought a year’s worth of state driving records in an effort to track undocumented immigrants, Quartz reports.
Relying on DMV databases for information is far from a new strategy. For years, ICE has relied on driving records to locate and potentially detain individuals. It’s just one of many ways to take what is seemingly “pro-immigrant” and use it to their benefit.
“Unlike many other government databases, driver’s license records include high-quality photographs matched with home addresses,” César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, an immigration lawyer and professor at the University of Denver, told the news outlet.
Access to the extensive database cost ICE a mere $26.50 total in this case. The 12-month contract allows for, according to the service form, “access to North Carolina’s database to view alien driving records, verify addresses and identification.”
Aside from the apparent ease in obtaining the information, the concern is that it’s part of a bigger anti-immigration movement in the state. This year, North Carolina has sought to outlaw sanctuary cities, force state sheriffs to cooperate with ICE and more.
Soon, states like New York and New Jersey may allow those without legal status to obtain licenses. They would be joining the likes of Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, and New Mexico. Though beneficial for work and safety purposes, it’s clear that, as Hernández said, “these records [become] especially promising gold mines for ICE and problematic targets for migrants.”