A recent Georgia Public Television report on state Rep. Jesse Petrea’s HB 452 passed in the 2017 year’s legislative session needs a lot of clarification. We are happy to help.

Two years in the making, and carefully researched, HB 452 was written to require the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to share information it has been receiving from federal authorities on aliens who have been convicted of crimes in the U.S. and then released back onto the streets of Georgia instead of being deported.

GBI has been getting the data since August 2015 in a system called ‘EID/LENS.’

In early 2016, and after much searching, this writer was unable to locate a single Georgia sheriff – including in some of our most illegal alien populous counties– who was aware the information was available or going to GBI. Petrea’s bill has changed that curious fact.

Language in the law requires two separate actions: That GBI send the EID/LENS info to the Georgia Sheriff’s Association – and to post it on the GBI website to warn the public about newly released, dangerous criminal foreigners in their communities. Some of these individuals have convictions for homicide, rape, kidnapping and child molestation.

The common-sense idea was to follow the logic of the public sex offender registry.

As InsiderAdvantage reported during the committee process on HB 452, nationwide, Immigration & Customs Enforcement released 19,723 criminal aliens in 2015 alone.

As GPTV reports, citing privacy concerns and federal law, immigration officials now indicate they will not allow the public to have access to the information sent to GBI because it is on a “need to know basis.” But that isn’t what the feds said prior to HB452. “When crafting the bill, I was very careful to examine the published guidelines on privacy for EID/LENS by the Department of Homeland Security. That policy stated clearly that the states had the authority to create their own policies for sharing this important data” Petrea told me last week.

He is referring to a September 2015 “Privacy Impact Assessment Update for the Enforcement Integrated Database (EID) Law Enforcement Notification System (LENS)” put out by DHS. A key part of the guidelines on privacy in the release seems clear enough:

External Sharing and Disclosure Privacy Risk: There is a risk that law enforcement agencies may further disseminate ICE’s data to those without a need to know.

Mitigation: This risk is only partially mitigated by DHS. Every LENS notification indicates that the data contained within is For Official Use Only and should be disseminated only on a need to know basis. However, ICE is limited in its ability to monitor and control use of the data by law enforcement agencies once a notification is made. Ensuring that the notification is shared with the appropriate entities is a responsibility of the law enforcement agency initially receiving the data, and any further dissemination may be governed by the state’s laws and policies on information sharing (emphasis mine).

It is notable that the contact point listed on the 2015 privacy guidelines was Thomas Homan who was then Executive Associate Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations for ICE.

Homan is now Acting Director of ICE under President Trump.

The direct result of Petrea’s tireless work on passage of his HB 452 language is that GBI has now started sharing the criminal alien release information with the Georgia Sheriff’s Association. “That accomplishment alone is a major success” said Petrea. We agree.

Notification that Georgia law enforcement agencies can also directly subscribe to the EID/LENS information provided to GBI since August 2015 was finally posted on the GBI-operated Georgia Crime Information Center’s website – on June 26, 2017. (Thank you, Representative Petrea.

“Going forward, I expect that we will clear up any issues halting the implementation of the second half of the bill which allows the public transparent access to data on criminal aliens released into their communities” says Petrea. We hope so.

Rumor has it that the privacy policy on criminal aliens and information sharing procedure is under review in Washington, D.C. We hope so.

The concept that the American public has no “need to know” when already-captured, deportable, criminal aliens are set free is not only ludicrous, but inherently dangerous.

D.A. King is president of the Dustin Inman Society

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