Investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are now using cellphone snooping devices to target illegal immigrants. The technology is called “Hailstorm,” and it was originally developed for counter-terrorism.

Hailstorm is a cell-site simulator device that mimics a cellphone tower. The device can be mounted to a police car, and when phones connect to Hailstorm, it downloads call history, the identification numbers of phones, and private messages.

Civil rights groups such as Electronic Frontier Foundation have denounced the use of Hailstorm for investigating non-violent criminals; however, a spokesman from Immigration and Customs Enforcement called the technology an “invaluable law enforcement tool.”

The first public acknowledgment of the use of cell-site simulators by federal agents was reported by The Detroit News. In collboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FBI used Hailstorm to locate Rudy Carcamo-Carranza, 23, of El Salvador. Carcamo-Carranza had been deported twice—once in 2006 and again in 2012. Since reentering the United States on an undisclosed date, two arrest warrants had been issued for Carcamo-Carranza: one for drunk driving and another for a hit and run accident.

The use of Hailstorm to enforce U.S. immigration laws is yet another manifestation of the recent crackdown on illegal immigration. If you or a loved one is in the country illegally, it is critical that you contact a green card attorney to discuss possible ways to obtain a green card.

Rusty O’Brien is an immigration lawyer in Louisville who will help you navigate U.S. immigration laws. Mr. O’Brien is fluent in Spanish, and he has been helping individuals and families resolve their immigration concerns for more than 10 years. Call 502-400-7890 today to schedule a consultation at the O’Brien Law Group.

How Did Federal Agents Locate Rudy Carcamo-Carranza?

On March 9, Jeremy McCullough, a Homeland Security deportation officer, applied for a warrant to find Carcamo-Carranza’s cellphone. McCullough requested the use of a cell-site simulator. The warrant was approved by a U.S. Magistrate Judge.

After learning the approximate location of Carcamo-Carranza’s cellphone, agents investigated the area and spotted the suspect on March 16. Agents then obtained a warrant to search the home where they saw Carcamo-Carranza.

The home was raided on March 23, and investigators arrested Rudy Carcamo-Carranza. Agents found a fake green card that had a phony Social Security number, Carcamo-Carranza’s photo, and an alias name.

If Carcamo-Carranza is convicted of all charges that he now faces, he could go to prison for up to 10 years. His trial is scheduled for July 11.

If you or a loved one is in the United States illegally or if you are facing deportation proceedings, turn to the O’Brien Law Group for comprehensive legal guidance. Mr. O’Brien will evaluate your situation, answer your questions, and compassionately represent your interests.

Rusty O’Brien is the former MidSouth region chapter chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AIM). He regularly represents clients before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and numerous U.S. consulates and embassies abroad. Call 502-400-7890 today to schedule a consultation with a green card attorney in Louisville.

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