Federal Surveillance Targets Foreign-born and Naturalized U.S. Citizens

Immigrant Rights

Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice and the Greater Boston Latino Network raised discrimination concerns surrounding the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to track the social media accounts of racial and ethnic minorities, including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

Surveillance procedures that target foreign-born and naturalized American citizens – that are not imposed on U.S.-born citizens – are a textbook example of citizenship-status and national origin discrimination. The proposed surveillance would create distinctions between U.S.-born and foreign-born citizens. These distinctions – rooted in national origin and place of birth – threaten the legal equality that currently exists among U.S. citizens.

Social media platforms are particularly important to marginalized communities who may not have easy access to other forums for communication. The proposed surveillance would impoverish online forums and severely chill access to social media platforms for people of color and immigrants.

We urge DHS not to engage in discriminatory social media monitoring.

Our open letter to DHS is available here: