💡 Get Philly smart 💡
with BP’s free daily newsletter
Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.
On Thursday, June 21, WikiLeaks posted a database claiming to identify 9,000 persons as former or current Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees.
That sizeable chunk of the 20,000-strong ICE workforce was compiled thanks to code developed by artist and programmer Sam Lavigne. The code reportedly scraped the entirety of LinkedIn in order to pinpoint the profiles of immigration law enforcement agents.
Once in WikiLeaks’ database, the info could be sorted with an advanced filter that allowed users to sift through the thousands of employees by categories of company, location, job location, industry, current position, school attended and field of study.
It appears this leaked algorithm is how local activists got hold of the names and photographs of three former or current ICE agents who purportedly reside in West Philadelphia.
One such activist, a recent 25-year-old South Texan transplant who identified herself as “Viktoria,” tweeted a photo of a flyer asking the community to ostracize three local residents identified as agents.
“Name and shame,” says the flyer. “No human being should be in a cage. Do not serve. No coffee for ICE.”
Because the tweet has been deleted, Billy Penn has redacted the names in the screenshot below.
The tweet garnered significant traction after it was posted on the evening of June 26, racking up at least 500 retweets and 700 likes before it was taken down Wednesday afternoon.
Philly’s ICE office was recently found to be is the most aggressive in the nation, per a Pro Publica/Philadelphia Inquirer report.
Viktoria, who told Billy Penn she has worked with unaccompanied minors arriving at the border since 2014, said she believes ICE agents — former and current — should be held accountable for their actions.
To her and others who’ve been releasing identifying information about these workers since last week, doxxing is a form of transparency activism and protest, which is bolstered by social media.
“I think ICE agents who are active and complicit in tearing families apart and tearing teenage boys away from any semblance of normalcy they’ve established in the US is not enough to default to ‘I’m just doing my job,’” Viktoria said. “As a community, we need to hold these institutions accountable at every level, even at the grassroots and even as everyday members of a neighborhood.”
Viktoria did not feel comfortable clarifying where she found the photo (she did not create the image) or which activist organizations she was involved with.
When commenters on Viktoria’s tweet expressed concerns such as the doxxing inciting a “witch hunt” or the leaked personal information potentially endangering the employees — “They could be killed!” one user responded — Viktoria maintained her original position:
“If that’s how we protect children and undocumented people from the raging, white supremacist, fascist machine of ICE then oh well.”
Whether or not the flyer is actually is posted in coffee shops throughout West Philly is unclear.
A Facebook profile that appears to visually match one of the people identified on the flyer describes her as a former ICE employee. The profile also publicly shows a “Hate Has No Home Here” badge, and membership in a private Hillary Clinton-supporting group.
No reply has been received to a message sent to that profile, nor one sent to a profile appearing to match up with a second person on the flyer.
Asked whether Philadelphia Police were concerned about the wellbeing of the named trio, a PPD spokesperson declined to comment. Billy Penn’s inquiry to the Philadelphia ICE Office has been forwarded to a public affairs officer, an official said.
Viktoria explained that she believes doxxing is effective because of how quickly it delivers “a message to people who benefit from racism and xenophobia and other agents complicit in this field.”
“That we no longer want them to enjoy or to participate in the community as long as there are children and families that can’t be together.”
Anti-ICE activism will be visible in the coming days throughout the city. The “End Family Detention” rally is set to take place at Logan Circle on the morning of Saturday, June 30, and another is scheduled for the afternoon of Monday, July 2, in front of City Hall.