Controversial Fingerprint-Sharing Program

A computer programmer is suing the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security after finger-printing program incorrectly identified him as an Illegal Immigrant and was detained in a maximum-security prison.

When James Makowski, a Chicago-area resident who repairs computer networks for companies, pleaded guilty in December 2010 to a felony charge of selling heroin, he was sentenced to four months at a “boot camp” drug treatment program, according to DuPage County, Ill., court records.

James Makowski was born in India and adopted by American family in New Jersey when he was 4 month old. Makowski was naturalized citizen when he was 1 year old, according to his lawyer, Mark Fleming. He argues FBI and Department of Homeland Security have violated the Privacy Act of 1974.

“Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mine,” Makowski, 24, said in a telephone interview Thursday. “But if the government can detain a U.S. citizen without justification, that’s pretty outrageous. There have to be safeguards in place.”

ICE has created 24 hours hotline for US Citizens who have detained wrongly or if they are victims of crime. Record shows closer to 900,000 potential immigration violators. They say the program was partly responsible for nearly doubling the number of deportations of convicted criminals and repeat immigration violators, from 114,415 people in 2008 to 216,698 in 2011.

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