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Gillibrand pushes to require record-keeping by immigration agents

Gillibrand pushes to require record-keeping by immigration agents
© Greg Nash

Democratic Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense: Austin and Milley talk budget, Afghanistan, sexual assault and more at wide-ranging Senate hearing Top general: Military justice overhaul proposed by Gillibrand 'requires some detailed study' Cher apologizes for confusing Sinema, Gillibrand MORE (N.Y.) announced Friday new legislation aimed at holding border patrol and customs enforcement agents accountable for questioning the immigration status of train and bus passengers. 

The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA), would mandate that officers with Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement formally maintain records of each time they question a passenger. 

“Keeping our country safe cannot come at a cost to basic human rights. When border patrol agents stop and question people in New York and in many places across the country, they aren’t keeping data about why they targeted a particular person or what happened during their encounter,” Gillibrand said in a statement Friday. 

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DATA would also require border and immigration agents to log detailed information on patrol stops made outside of international security checkpoints, as Gillibrand cited the agencies' broad authority to check vehicles within the vast 100-mile U.S. border zones.

The DHS would then have to log the information, including the reason for the stop and whether force was used, in a database accessible to the public. 

The bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDemocrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill Chicago police officer arrested for role in Capitol riot Democrats reintroduce bill to create 'millionaires surtax' MORE (D-Ore.), Tom UdallTom UdallSenate Democrats befuddled by Joe Manchin Study: Chemical used in paint thinners caused more deaths than EPA identified Oregon senator takes center stage in Democratic filibuster debate MORE (D-N.M.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenMcConnell seeks to divide and conquer Democrats Mark Cuban: ProPublica 'not being honest' about taxes on wealthy On The Money: Bipartisan Senate group rules out tax hikes on infrastructure | New report reignites push for wealth tax MORE (D-Mass.), has drawn the support of liberal civil rights and immigration advocacy groups such as the ACLU and the Southern Border Coalition at a time when the Trump administration is taking an aggressive approach to immigration enforcement.

Social media has been flooded in recent months with videos and stories of random checks where travelers are quizzed about their immigration status.

President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden prepares to confront Putin Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting Senate investigation of insurrection falls short MORE last month authorized the National Guard, at the recommendation of the DHS, to aid in border security along the U.S.-Mexico border.