Don’t forget – our next meeting will be held Monday, Sept 14 via zoom, at 7:00PM.  Please email me with any agenda item you wish to have included in the meeting notice no later than noon on WEDNESDAY, September 9.
If you have a suggestion for a GUEST SPEAKER, please contact me as soon as possible, to include the name, subject, his/her contact info, and whether you have heard the speaker at another event.

The CT Mirror reports that thousands of immigrants living in Connecticut are still waiting — and longer than usual — to become American citizens as naturalizations have been slowed by the pandemic and Trump administration policy changes. As of March 31, just over 7,600 immigrants were stuck in a backlog of pending cases in the USCIS Hartford office, a small portion of the more than 700,000 cases pending nationwide at the end of March

>>DHS Announces Proposed Changes to Biometrics Collection.. 
(https://www.dhs.gov/news/2020/09/01/dhs-uscis-modernize-define-collection-biometrics  that it will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking proposing expanding department authorities and methods for collecting biometrics. The proposed rule would authorize expanded use of biometrics beyond background checks to include identity verification; use of new techniques, including voice, iris, and facial recognition; and collection of DNA or DNA test results to verify claimed genetic relationship when an applicant or petitioner is unable to provide sufficient documentary evidence to establish the claimed relationship. Buzzfeed News reports (https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/hamedaleaziz/trump-immigrant-biometric-info-applications?utm_)that, according to a draft of the proposed rule, the government would be allowed to request biometrics from immigrants who have received a green card, work permit, or other immigration benefit at any point up until they are a U.S. citizen.
>> And then we have a REPORT from the GAO (GAO-20-568) a summary of which states,”CBP and TSA are Taking Steps to Implement Programs, but CBP Should Address Privacy and System Performance Issues  GAO is making five recommendations to CBP to (1) ensure privacy notices are complete, (2) ensure notices are available at locations using FRT, (3) develop and implement a plan to audit its program partners for privacy compliance, (4) develop and implement a plan to capture required traveler photos at air exit, and (5) ensure it is alerted when air exit performance falls below established thresholds. DHS concurred with the recommendations. What GAO Found. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has made progress testing and deploying facial recognition technology (FRT) at ports of entry to create entry-exit records for foreign nationals as part of its Biometric Entry-Exit Program. As of May 2020, CBP, in partnership with airlines, had deployed FRT to 27 airports to biometrically confirm travelers’ identities as they depart the United States (air exit) and was in the early stages of assessing FRT at sea and land ports of entry.

Facial Recognition Technology in Use at an Airport. CBP has taken steps to incorporate some privacy principles in its program, such as publishing the legislative authorities used to implement its program, but has not consistently provided complete information in privacy notices or ensured notices were posted and visible to travelers. Ensuring that privacy notices contain complete information and are consistently available would help give travelers the opportunity to decline to participate, if appropriate. Further, CBP requires its commercial partners, such as airlines, to follow CBP’s privacy requirements and can audit partners to assess compliance. However, as of May 2020, CBP had audited only one of its more than 20 airline partners and did not have a plan to ensure all partners are audited. Until CBP develops and implements an audit plan, it cannot ensure that traveler information is appropriately safeguarded.  CBP has assessed the accuracy and performance of air exit FRT capabilities through operational testing. Testing found that air exit exceeded its accuracy goals—for example, identifying over 90 percent of travelers correctly—but did not meet a performance goal to capture 97 percent of traveler photos because airlines did not consistently photograph all travelers. A plan to improve the photo capture rate would help CBP better fulfill the program’s mission of creating biometrically confirmed traveler departure records. Further, while CBP monitors air exit’s performance, officials are not alerted when performance falls short of minimum requirements.  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has conducted pilot tests to assess the feasibility of using FRT but, given the limited nature of these tests, it is too early to fully assess TSA’s compliance with privacy protection principles. CBS News reports on ICE’s announcement that it made more than 2,000 arrests during a six-week nationwide operation in July and August. While the operation purportedly focused on those with criminal convictions and charges, ICE agents made “at-large” arrests, which could take place at residences, worksites, and traffic stops across the country. Aaron Reichlin-Melnick of the American Immigration Council told CBS News, “There is still a pandemic raging … ICE should not be engaging in large-scale enforcement actions that send people to detention centers where the virus is rampant.”

Enjoy the Labor Day Weekend and stay safe.

A FINAL THOUGHT:  Imagine if in London during the Blitz there had been a whole bunch of people going, “I’ll turn on my        lights if I feel like it.”