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Feds are using Palantir's tech to root out immigrants

It's the groundwork for the 'extreme vetting' that Trump keeps talking about.

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has yet another tool from Palantir to track and identify immigrants, according to The Intercept. Dubbed "Investigative Case Management" (ICM), it's a system that aggregates information from the Drug Enforcement Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation. More than that, it taps into data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives too, to provide ICE agents with everything from biometrics, family relationships and phone records on any given person -- citizen or immigrant. These tools aren't necessarily new -- some have been around for a handful of years -- it's just that now, they're being used by the ICE rather than just the Department of Homeland Security.

The American Civil Liberties Union's Chris Conley told Engadget the ICM is essentially the same tool that the DHS has been using, but that the motives are far from similar. "The difference here is that ICE could use it with a different set of information to try to turn some of the rhetoric around mass deportations into reality," he said. "The tool isn't different, but the use to which it's being put is very different -- and very concerning."

The ICM is primarily being used by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), according to The Intercept, and it was implemented during the Obama administration. Under Trump, the HSI was key to last week's raids in Mississippi resulting in 55 restaurant employees being detained, according to Vice's food publication, Munchies. Given the president's campaign promises and what we've seen already, this could expand at a much larger and faster scale.

"DHS's job is to keep our country secure, a goal I think we all agree upon," Conley said. "Whereas [the ICE's] goal of removing people who are productive workers and family members that have been here in the United States for decades would be very different."

There's another ICE database system, called Falcon, specifically used for tracking immigrants. Combined with a program known as the Analytical Framework for Intelligence, these tools are what some say will be Trump's "extreme vetting" methods.

"AFI is the black-box system of profiling algorithms he's talking about," Edward Hasbrouck of civil liberties outfit the Identity Project told The Intercept.