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Oregon senator wants probe into DHS collection of citizen financial records

An Oregon senator says the Department of Homeland Security obtained millions of financial records of people who sent and received money transfers in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico. 

In a letter sent to DHS, Sen. Ron Wyden says a surveillance program conducted by the agency’s Homeland Security Investigations collected some 6 million records.

He says in a debrief last month his office was told the agency had been using a subpoena power called customs summons authority to pull records since 2019.

Wyden's letter alleges the collection was part of a larger effort by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office that dates back to 2006 and looks into money transfers of more than $500. 

Wyden says the information has been put into a database and made available to hundreds of local, federal and state law enforcement agencies. He’s asking for a federal probe to see if the program was constitutional.

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.