On July 19, Professor Anil Kalhan, an expert on immigration law, was a guest on Vocalo Public Radio to discuss U.S. citizen James Malkowski’s lawsuit against the government for detaining Malkowski in a maximum security prison for two months due to government’s alleged misidentification of Malcowski as an illegal immigrant.
According to the broadcast, Malkowski’s alleged misidentification was a product of Secure Communities, a federal program designed to reduce illegal immigration by mandating that local law enforcement send the fingerprints of those arrested by local police to immigration officials. When Malkowski was sentenced on a felony charge in Chicago, a fingerprint search allegedly misidentified him as an illegal immigrant, detained him in a maximum security prison and commenced deportation proceedings.
Malkowski argues that the government violated the Privacy Act by failing to maintain accurate records on him, Kalhan said. Secure Communities sends millions of fingerprint records from the FBI to immigration officials and immigration officials do little to verify the information, Kalhan commented. Furthermore, immigration officials can issue an order to detain an individual based on very limited information, Kalhan added. Thus, it is not surprising that this happened to Malkowski, Kalhan concluded.
In a related July 29 article Kalhan wrote for the Dorf on Law blog, Kalhan discussed former White House Chief of Staff, and now Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel’s immigration law initiative designed to avoid the kind of immigration mishaps Malkowski allegedly faced by creating a new city ordinance that will restrict Chicago police officers from inquiring about immigration status during encounters with members of the public under certain circumstances.