Over 6,000 migrants who claimed to be escaping torture and persecution were bombarded with another hardship— their names, birth dates, nationalities, and locations were unintentionally posted to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) website this week. Notably, the leaking of this information has caused an uproar. Attorneys representing persons who have sought refuge in the United States said the unprecedented data leak might expose the immigrants, who are all presently being held by ICE, to reprisal from the very people, organizations, and governments they fled from. According to federal law, it is prohibited from disclosing personal information on those applying for asylum or other safeguards without the approval of senior Department of Homeland Security authorities.
The organization is currently looking into the situation and will let the impacted immigrants know that their information has been disclosed. The organization has stated that until it is clear whether the leak had an impact on the cases of the immigrants whose information was shared inadvertently, they will not be at risk of deportation. Some of the immigrants affected by the exposure of their private information come from countries including, Iran, Russia, and China. After receiving notification of the data leak from the immigrant rights organization Human Rights First on Monday, ICE moved quickly to remove the information from its website. The information was up for five hours before being rapidly removed. Although the breach in data was not intentional, it still created angst for the agency, and produced potential danger for the victims whose information was leaked.