FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 16, 2017

Contact: Jake Laperruque, Senior Counsel
The Constitution Project Joins Broad Coalition Opposing Problem-Wrought Extreme Vetting Initiative

WASHINGTON--The Constitution Project today joined a broad coalition of 56 civil rights, civil liberties, government accountability, human rights, immigrant rights, and privacy organizations opposing the Immigration & Customs Enforcement's (ICE) proposed new "Extreme Vetting Initiative."  This system would broadly monitor social media and ostensibly automate vetting as the basis for deportations and visa denials.

As the letter explains, the proposed system is unreliable and contains serious flaws that will likely lead to abuse and improper implementation.  Its criteria for evaluations are copied directly from President Trump's original travel ban, which was struck down in courts as an unlawful ban targeted at Muslims.  It has also been strongly criticized by over 50 of the nation's leading technological experts, in part because the criteria ICE intends to monitor are beyond the realm of automated technological analysis.  Given the difficulty of contextualizing online comments and the vague and undefined standards it applies, the system will inevitably generate inaccurate and biased results, and could serve as a mask for malicious targeting of individuals.
"By relying on a convoluted system prone to misinterpretation and bias, this system will allow the government to target dissenters and marginalized groups," said TCP Senior Counsel Jake Laperruque.  He added, "What is genuinely 'extreme' about this initiative is how much it threatens to chill speech and provide ICE with the means for targeting individuals under the guise of computer-based recommendations." 


About The Constitution Project ®

Created out of the belief that we must cast aside the labels that divide us in order to keep our democracy strong, The Constitution Project brings together policy experts and legal practitioners from across the political spectrum to foster consensus-based solutions to the most difficult constitutional challenges of our time through scholarship, advocacy, policy reform and public education initiatives. Established in 1997, TCP is based in Washington, D.C.