Volume 34
Issue 3
Spring '20

Weapons of Mass Deportation: Big Data and Automated Decision-Making Systems in Immigration Law

Written By: Estefania McCarroll

Abstract

The world is run by data. Predictive analytics and machine learning are constantly feeding from people’s data to predict behaviors. Big Tech propelled the “Big Data” revolution after discovering that data translates into revenue. Netflix predicts what movies you will like, Facebook helps businesses predict what kinds of ads you are likely to click on, and insurance companies predict whether you will be in an accident or become sick. But what happens when the government uses your data to predict that you are going to commit a crime, or to track you and deport you if you are undocumented? What used to be the arms race among nations has now turned into the technology race. President Putin professed that the nation that obtains leadership in artificial intelligence (AI) will rule the world. After China announced that it wants to become the global leader in AI research by 2030, the United States took strong stands on AI development through the “Executive Order on AI” signed by President Trump in February 2019. The Research and Development Strategic Plan that followed the executive order calls for the “[d]eveloping of AI systems that complement and augment human capabilities. . .” as well as the “[d]eveloping and making accessible a wide variety of datasets to meet the needs” of different applications. The United States widely uses computer-human collaboration systems within the criminal justice system under the name of Automated Decision-Making Systems (ADM Systems). In the immigration context, the use of these systems is limited. Does the Executive Order on AI call for the expansion of these systems to other governmental functions in immigration enforcement?

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