Thousands of immigrants had their personal information released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday.
On Wednesday, the LA Times report that 6,252 migrants who said they were escaping torture and ill-treatment in their country of origin had their personal information published by ICE on the agency’s website.
According to the report, ICE claims it inadvertently posted public data while performing “periodic updates to its website”. The LA Times data includes the migrant’s name, case status and location of detention. The data is uploaded to a page on ICE’s website, where the agency typically posts information related to detentions.
The human rights organization, Human Rights First, contacted ICE as soon as it noticed the data posted on its website, and the agency worked to remove that data shortly thereafter. However, data is available for about five hours.
ICE provided LA Times with an official statement.
“Although unintentional, the release of this information is a violation of policy and the agency is investigating the incident and taking any necessary corrective action,” an ICE spokesperson said.
ICE said it was working to notify both affected migrants as well as those who downloaded the data. The agency also said it was monitoring the internet for the possibility of data being re-uploaded.
The identities of these individuals are considered highly secret, as some of these migrants face threats to their lives. The people in this case are applying for asylum from countries like Iran, China and Russia.
According to a Department of Homeland Security official who spoke with LA Timesthe incident is “embarrassing” and for those affected, can even be dangerous.