Immigration advocacy groups are asking California Attorney General Kamala Harris to “block federal access” to the database containing names of gang members in the state.
The goal is to block access before President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in, thereby preventing his administration from seeing the names of individuals who could find themselves on a the deportation short list.
According to the Voice of OC (VOC), a 2016 report from the California State Auditor claims the CalGang database has problems because of “weak oversight.” This means the database reportedly contains some names that should have been removed and other names that ought not have been added in the first place.
VOC put it this way: “In some cases law enforcement agencies put individuals in the database without adequate evidence, failed to purge CalGang records that had not been updated within five years, and poorly implemented a state law requiring that juveniles and their parents are notified before the minor is placed in the database.”
Advocacy groups fear that Trump would sift through the names on the database in a search for immigrants who have amassed a criminal record in the US, only “to deport…[illegal] immigrants who’ve been erroneously labeled as gang members.”
In a post-election 60 Minutes appearance, Trump “vowed to immediately deport as many as three million undocumented immigrants, specifically those with criminal records such as gang members and drug dealers.” The pledge to secure the border and “immediately deport” illegal immigrants with a criminal record was popular with voters in the general election. And the Border Patrol’s National Border Patrol Council has made clear they are eager to see Trump secure the border, especially as it relates to building a wall.
But the Urban Peace Institute’s Sean Garcia-Leys does not want the CalGang database anywhere near Trump at this time. Garcia-Leys said, “Until the Department of Justice can assure people that there is accuracy and that there are no harms to being put in the database…basically the plug should be pulled on CalGang until those things happen because the risk of the database being used in immigration is just too high to allow it to continue right now.”