Experts object to US Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s “Extreme Vetting Initiative” that will rely on AI


In 2017, US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it would seek to use artificial intelligence to automatically evaluate the probability of a prospective immigrant “becoming a positively contributing member of society.” In a letter to acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, a group of 54 concerned computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and researchers objected to ICE’s proposal and demanded that ICE abandon this approach because it would be biased and inaccurate and would enable ICE officials to arbitrarily flag certain groups or individuals under the guise of relying on a seemingly impartial algorithm. Of particular concern is that any proxies for whether someone will be a positively contributing member of society would be unrelated to that characteristic but could include activities protected under their rights to freedom of expression, such as whether someone had criticized the Trump administration’s policies via social media.

Writers: Hal Abelson, et al.

Publication: The Brennan Center