Ban the Scan Launch: Statement by Jose Chapa

January 26, 2020

Good morning, My name is Jose Chapa and I am the Senior Policy Associate at the Immigrant Defense Project based in NYC. IDP works to combat criminalization, including protecting the rights of immigrants who have contact with the police and the criminal legal system.

Over the past couple of decades, Immigration and Customs Enforcement-better known as ICE, has invested significantly in expanding its ability to surveil, arrest and deport people. This has included sharing information and technology with police—including biometrics such as fingerprints, and potentially facial recognition data. It is widely recognized that surveillance in the United States has increased to problematic levels that infringe on privacy, civil and human rights. 

At risk of losing the most are communities of color, more notably Black and brown communities, including immigrants. A year ago, ICE announced that it had been conducting a 24/7 surveillance operation in New York called Operation Palladium to advance its agenda of harassing and intimidating immigrant communities.

This last decade and more notably these last four years have shown us that ICE’s cruelty knows no bounds-and its abuse of this technology and their multi million dollar contracts with surveillance companies cannot go unnoticed. Unless we challenge this, tech companies will continue to build more and more tools used to surveil, incarcerate and deport our communities. 

New York City and State have an opportunity to curtail this infringement. That is why we are demanding that our elected officials ban facial recognition technology-specifically Senate Bill 79 in the NYS Legislature-as we move forward into uncharted technological territory. Other cities across the country have already taken steps to curtail these infringements. New York State recently banned facial recognition technology in our schools. It is time for New York to step up and set an example for the rest of the country by banning the use of this technology.  

We are proud to join this global campaign to ban the use of facial recognition systems by policing agencies.  Thanks everyone! 

Read press statement here