Obama's ICE Can't Enforce Immigration Laws But It Can Surveil Gun Shows

Office Dennis Vafier of the Alexandria Police Dept., uses a laptop in his squad car to scan vehicle license plates during his patrols of the area, Tuesday, July 16, 2013 in Alexandria, Va. Local police departments across the country have amassed millions of digital records on the location and movements of every car truck with a license plate using automated scanners. Affixed to police cars, bridges or buildings, the scanners capture images of passing or parked vehicles and note their location, dumping that information into police databases. Departments keep the records for weeks or even years. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency isn’t good at much. A report indicates that over half of those adults attempting to cross the border illegally make it. Their catch-and-release policy has resulted in hundreds of Americans becoming the victims of violent crime at the hands of multiply deported felons. But one thing the apparently think they can do well is carry out facially illegal surveillance of gun shows.

Local police officers are allegedly scanning the license plate numbers of people attending gun-shows per the request of the federal government.

Agents employ devices that record the plate numbers of every car that passes through such events, according to emails obtained by The Wall Street Journal. The incident has raised questions from Fourth and Second Amendment advocates.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency first devised the plan in 2010. Communications reveal that such surveillance occurred at a gun show in Southern California, specifically the city of Del Mar near the border with Mexico. The authorities compare the collected data to vehicles that travel over the border in an attempt to identify and apprehend gun smugglers.

Actually, this does nothing of the kind. Absent some evidence that guns from this gun show, or any other gun show, are appearing in Mexico under illegal circumstances the data collected by ICE proves nothing beyond the fact that some people who live on the border go to gun shows and travel to Mexico. Period. If the ICE wants to monitor gun trafficking on the border, they need to send some agents to the nearest BATFE “gun walking” scheme.

This is so eregious that even the ACLU, never a friend of the Second Amendment, has complained.

“Because those two activities in concert fit somebody’s idea of a crime, a person becomes inherently suspicious,” Jay Stanley, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, told The WSJ. This investigative tactic “highlights the problem with mass collection of data.”

“Information on law-abiding gun owners ends up getting recorded, stored, and registered, which is a violation of the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act and of the Second Amendment,” executive director of Gun owners of America, Erich Pratt, said according to The WSJ.

A representative for ICE admitted to conducting operations for the Del Mar gun show, but did not explicitly say they scanned license plates.

What you are seeing here is a kinder, gentler version of the Fast & Furious operation run by the BATFE that resulted in hundreds of deaths in Mexico as well as the death of at least one US Border Patrol agent. They are trying to build a fact case that will support stricter regulation of gun shows, particularly gun shows in Border States. The surveillance is not only materially useless but it is illegal and it is diverting resources that could be used to stop illegal immigration to Obama’s jihad against the Second Amendment.