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May 17, 2018

Thompson Statement on ICE Abandoning its Extreme Vetting Program

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on news that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has canceled plans for its Visa Lifecycle Vetting Initiative (VLVI), formerly referred to as the Extreme Vetting Initiative.

“I am glad that DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agreed with us that their plans for an automated extreme vetting system should be canceled.  The original plans for the program had far reaching constitutional implications and would have wantonly disregarded individual privacy and due process. Automated proxy searches would never have been effective and would have undoubtedly promoted discrimination. We support vetting people who want to come to this country, but the Department must follow proven methods that are legally sound and follow the Constitution. I hope this is a lesson learned and going forward DHS and ICE will begin to properly vet its policy plans rather than focus on fulfilling President Trump’s irresponsible campaign promises.”

In April, Ranking Member Thompson, along with Border & Maritime Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Filemon Vela (D-TX) and Counterterrorism & Intelligence Subcommittee Ranking Member Kathleen Rice (D-NY), sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen urging her to immediately halt plans for the program due to due process, free speech, and discriminatory concerns.  Dozens of technology and civil liberties experts also agreed.

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978