On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security launched a database that claims to track alleged criminals who are undocumented.
The database, lawyers and immigration advocates say, is already a questionable proposition since it looks like a move intended to criminalize immigrants and create a problem where data tells us there isn’t one.
But on Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported an even more immediate problem with the database: it includes children and minors among the purported criminals listed.
Bryan Johnson, an immigration attorney, found the listings of children as young as three and four years old on the database on Wednesday.
“In their haste to pretend like they care about victims of immigrant crimes, the Trump administration released personally identifiable information regarding vulnerable children at risk of human trafficking and other crimes,” he told the L.A. Times. “They should just take it down and do it right, which would basically show it’s a farce because [it would] be close to impossible to create a database where only detainees listed had ‘victims.’”
Acting DHS Press Secretary Gillian M. Christensen told Fusion in a statement on Thursday morning that the listings have now been removed:
The Department of Homeland Security’s policy is and remains to protect the information of minors in our custody. Following the April 26 launch of the DHS-Victim Information and Notification Exchange (DHS-VINE) the appropriate filter was not applied to the data being made available to site users, which allowed for a lapse in privacy protocols. Once identified, ICE immediately began work to resolve the issue and restored the appropriate filters to the system within hours. Consistent with DHS policy, information about minors in ICE custody is no longer available through DHS-VINE.