NPR: Illegal Aliens Have Legal Right Not to Get Caught

Recently, there have been a number of stories in the mainstream media falsely claiming that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has violated illegal aliens’ civil rights by using standard law enforcement techniques to locate immigration violators. National Public Radio (NPR) has now jumped on the bandwagon decrying ICE use of facial recognition technology to scan state driver’s license databases.

According to NPR, ICE is “pushing the envelope to enforce immigration laws.” NPR quotes Priscilla Gomez of Mijente, a radical organization dedicated to abolishing ICE, who says, “There’s few guidelines to regulate what technologies are being used [by ICE]and how.”

But neither NPR nor Mijente cite any rules, regulations or statutes that ICE might be violating. Why? Because their claims are totally baseless and utterly false.

To begin with, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights furnish adequate guidelines for the use of emerging law enforcement technology. As two centuries of Fourth Amendment search and seizure jurisprudence demonstrate, our courts have proven remarkably adept at applying civil rights principles to such advances as the telephone, personal computers and cell phones.

In fact, courts throughout the United States have already addressed this issue, repeatedly finding that drivers have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their vehicle registration or driver’s license information. As the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit noted in U.S. v. Ellison, “The very purpose of a license plate number, like that of a Vehicle Identification Number, is to provide identifying information to law enforcement officials and others.” Therefore, computer checks of vehicle registration information do not violate the Fourth Amendment, or any other prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Photos on driver’s licenses serve the same purpose. They permit law enforcement and other government officials to identify drivers. And, since there isn’t any legally protected privacy interest associated with such information, government agencies don’t need a warrant or a subpoena to access it. That’s why checking DMV databases is a standard tactic whenever law enforcement agencies are searching for fugitives from justice. ICE isn’t “pushing the envelope,” it’s just protecting our public safety and national security with tools that are both legal and effective.

But in a piece filled with absurd contentions, the most bizarre comes from Alvaro Bedoya, founding director of Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology. He asserts that allowing ICE to use public information to find law-breakers, “betrays the trust of undocumented immigrants who signed up for driver’s licenses in good faith.”  You read that correctly. A professor at one of America’s elite law schools, thinks that illegal aliens have a fundamental right to enlist state governments in helping them hide their immigration transgressions from the federal government.

The reality is that organizations like NPR, Mijente and the Center on Privacy and Technology simply don’t like immigration enforcement of any kind. But they can produce no legal or procedural arguments that support such a radical stance. So they lie to the public in order to create the false impression that ICE is somehow victimizing immigration-law-breakers.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar
    Robert Robbins on

    Everyone who gave oath to protect. America from invasion and that is what is happening here and has violated that oath are criminals and traitors to America… So they are criminals and will be dealt with as such. JUST WATCH AND SEE.

  2. avatar

    The Demonrats try to be ‘high-brow’ on programs like that NPR setting, talking about how America ‘needs’ a migrant population; which leads to further dilution of the spectrum to “Undocumented”, rather than ‘illegal’.

    Eventually the libertards will be using the word ‘Citizen’ with those ‘PC’ words, as though it is completely normal. They refuse to recognized the difference between a resident and a citizen, or an illegal or legal alien.

    Only CITIZENS have ‘legal’ RIGHTS!

    The libertards’ agenda is to bring Socialism to America. Their ‘business’ is ruling a lower class of dependents.

    The trouble of their theology is; EVENTUALLY YOU RUN OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY!!!!! When it’s only the lazy folks that are all you can attract into your theology (or cross the border to become voters), who are you going to get to pay for everything? If everything is FREE, FREE, FREE, why work or earn. No earnings = no tax money to blow . . .

  3. avatar
    Gary De Capua on

    Putting all this aside, no matter how you put it, congress is breaking federal and Constitution law. There are federal immigration law’s now that are not being enforced such as: 8 U.S. Code Section 1324. Bringing in and harboring certain aliens Then there is Constitutional law; .Article 6, Clause 3., part of the supremacy clause, (The senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be BOUND by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution: but no religious Test shall ever be required . Then there is the Guarantee Clause; Article 4 Section 4, The United States shall guarantee to every State Government and to the People. Keep this in mind, they are Public Servants.

    • avatar
      Gary De Capua on

      Error; Article 4 Section 4, The United States shall guarantee to every State a Republican form of Government, and shall protect each of the against INVASION, and on Application of Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence The elected officials have committed perjury on their Oath of Office and that is a CRIME.

    • avatar
      Robert Robbins on

      Everyone who gave oath to protect. America from invasion and that is what is happening here and has violated that oath are criminals and traitors to America… So they are criminals and will be dealt with as such. JUST WATCH AND SEE.

    • avatar
      Patricia Ellen Abbate on

      Many of these illegals are brazenly disobeying court-ordered deportation orders [similar to warrants]. They arrogantly and haughtily continue on their righteous, merry way…. totally self-serving and disrespectful of our laws and courts.

      Eventually, when word gets out to the
      millions of illegals here and those planning an illegal entry will know that we will no longer allow our kindness to be exploited to the detriment of our needy citizens and national debt.

  4. avatar
    Geoge Tyrebyter on

    NPR is absolutely biased in its coverage. All “reporters” who cover illegals and the illegals trade are totally on the “open-borders” side. They never quote any “pro-enforcement” groups, only “open-borders”. And they frequently lie.

  5. avatar

    Technically you are right (re: driver’s licenses and ICE) But sometimes you have to lie, in order to fight lies and corruption. Fight fire with fire.
    When the corrupt ruling powers enlist the strong arm of the law to do their dirty work, resistance is justified.

    • avatar
      Geoge Tyrebyter on

      Aiding and abetting felons is a felony. People like you should be arrested and jailed.

  6. avatar

    Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan supposed to be writing a book that is critical of Trump. He and his ilk are exactly why we have Trump. Ryan is another corporate-owned globalist shill. The Wall Street Journal recently suggested that Trump replace Pence in 2020 for the vice president slot with Nikki Haley. No wonder, she has said we should accept all the immigrants who want to come. So I guess we can quickly look like her parents over-populated India? If he replaces Pence it should be with Jim Jordan of Ohio. The WSJ decades ago proposed a constitutional amendment that said There shall be open borders. Certified lunacy.

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