A UK-based information and analytics firm. Its subsidiary LexisNexis provides data analytics to US immigration authorities to identify and locate persons targeted for deportation.
RELX Group, previously known as Reed Elsevier, is a U.K.-based provider of publishing and information services across different sectors, including science, legal, data analytics, and risk management. It is owned by RELX PLC, a holding company traded on the stock exchanges of London, New York, and Amsterdam. RELX controls some 600 subsidiaries around the globe and, in 2021, generated over $9 billion in revenue.
RELX subsidiary LexisNexis is a data broker and legal research provider headquartered in New York. It provides software services mainly to law firms, universities, government agencies, and corporations. Its products include personal data, analytics, legal services, and risk mitigation. Through various RELX subsidiaries, LexisNexis provides personal data products to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). These data, aggregated from diverse commercial and government sources, are used to locate and identify persons targeted for arrest or deportation.
Jail Booking Data - Sabotaging Sanctuary
LexisNexis provides ICE and CBP access to its Accurint database of personal data. Through Accurint, ICE gains access to a database called Justice Intelligence (formerly JusticeXchange), a product of data broker Appriss Insights, a subsidiary of Equifax. This database collects incarceration records and real-time jail booking data from thousands of U.S. jails and prisons, information which ICE uses to learn the release date of people it wants to deport.
ICE has been using this product to circumvent state and local sanctuary policies that prevent local law enforcement from cooperating with the jailing and deportation of immigrants. For example, a Colorado 2019 law prohibits state agencies from sharing information with ICE, and similar policies exist in ten other states and hundreds of cities and counties as of 2021. In its justification for the contract with Equifax, ICE noted that “policy or legislative changes” have caused “an increase in the number of law enforcement agencies and state or local governments that do not share information about real-time incarceration of foreign-born nationals with ICE. Therefore, it is critical to have access to Justice Intelligence services through LexisNexis' Appriss Insights.” In other words, through their privatization of data sharing, Equifax and LexisNexis provide ICE with a backdoor to the same data, enabling it to continue targeting immigrants.
The company also sells access to its Accurint database to the fusion centers of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). These centers share local law enforcement data with DHS and other federal law enforcement agencies. For example, in 2020 the Austin Regional Intelligence Center, a DHS fusion center that shares data across 10 counties in Central Texas, was pursuing a contract to access a LexisNexis database that includes utility payment data and license plate reader data. Austin Energy, which provides electrical power to Austin and its environs, has been using the LexisNexis Accurint database since 2019 through a $456,000 5-year contract.
Other Data and Services
LexisNexis Risk Solutions signed a 2021 contract with ICE worth a potential $17.4 million to provide law enforcement database access and analytics. This includes license plate reader data, which may be provided by a third party through a commercial agreement with LexisNexis. LexisNexis Special Services was awarded another 5-year $5.4 million contract in 2018 to provide ICE with "risk mitigation services". Other RELX subsidiaries also provide personal credit reports to both ICE and CBP, through agreements worth up to $24 million and $2.6 million, respectively.
In addition to immigration authorities, LexisNexis Risk Solutions also sells its personal data platform to law enforcement agencies across the U.S., providing police departments and sheriff's offices with access to Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) records, addresses, phone numbers, and asset information, among many other data sets.
Another subsidiary, LexisNexis Special Services, is uniquely positioned to sell data products to law enforcement, with a board of directors comprised of former and current representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), U.S. Marshals, Secret Service, and big-city police departments. This division of the company operates the Public Safety Data Exchange, which compiles data from thousands of law enforcement agencies for information sharing purposes. LexisNexis requires its law enforcement customers to provide their information so the company can incorporate it into its database.
RELX's venture arm, REV Venture Partners Limited, was an early investor in Palantir Technologies, which is a major contractor for ICE's deportation machine. Until 2021, LexisNexis was listed as an official data partner of Palantir.
National Criminal Alien Targeting Center (NCATC)
LexisNexis data products are used by ICE agents and private contractors at the National Criminal Alien Targeting Center (NCATC). Based at the Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) in Williston, Vermont, this intelligence center shares immigration status information with state and local law enforcement across the U.S. and coordinates fingerprint matching between local law enforcement and ICE. NCATC processes vast amounts of personal data and, in 2019 alone, vetted over 5 million individuals as targets for immigration enforcement.
NCATC generates target lists to assist ICE agents in tracking down immigrants convicted of criminal offenses, but this mission can also include anyone “unlawfully present in the United States.” NCATC provides location leads for ICE raids based on DMV, criminal justice, social media, and other personal data. LexisNexis personal data is integral to this targeting. Budget documents for Fiscal Year 2022 show that LexisNexis is a key data provider for the center, for which requested funding was nearly doubled compared to the previous year.
RELX Group has a Political Action Committee (PAC), which spent $1.5 million in federal campaign contributions from 1999 to May 2021. The PAC has donated to both the Democratic and Republican parties through party committees, direct candidate contributions, and other PACs.
During that same period, RELX spent over $66.6 million on lobbying activities in relation to issues including cross-border data transfers and NAFTA, government procurement and cybersecurity, EARN IT (a controversial bill that threatens first amendment rights of Internet users), and REAL ID (which requires all persons to hold a U.S. passport or an “enhanced ID” to travel domestically). LexisNexis Special Services spent an additional $3.9 million on lobbying activities from 2000 to 2014.