A memo obtained by USA Today mentions a proposal to comb driver's license databases in North Carolina for applicants who were denied licenses because they were unable to prove residency. Such a search "woud provide a significant foreign-born target base" that could be vetted to find those with prior criminal convictions, the memo said. An ICE official told ABC/Univision in an email that the proposal was never enacted.
The emails featured in the USA Today report were obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which was investigating allegations of racial profiling at immigration checkpoints in North Carolina.
Raul Pinto, a staff attorney with the ACLU of North Carolina, found the information worrisome.
"They thought that promotions were tied to those numbers," Pinto said. "So there really is an incentive for field officers to arrest as many people as possible and increase the deportation numbers by using questionable tactics."
This article was updated on Feb. 15, 2013, to reflect comment from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.