(Washington)—Immigration advocacy groups filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit Monday against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requesting ICE’s internal reports on enforcement activities and removals under the Biden-Harris administration’s interim enforcement priorities.
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Mijente Support Committee, and the American Immigration Council filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to challenge ICE’s failure to release information in response to a FOIA request filed in September seeking copies of the reports. Memos setting ICE’s enforcement priorities—issued on Jan. 20 and Feb. 18—required the agency to collect information and create reports on ICE enforcement actions and removals.
The lawsuit seeks to uncover these reports that are crucial for advocates and the public to understand how ICE has interpreted the priorities and to ascertain whether the agency has adhered to the new guidelines.
“ICE has not met its obligation under FOIA to respond to our request in a timely manner,” said Lena Graber, Senior Staff Attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. “These records are crucial to understanding how ICE interpreted the enforcement priorities.”
“The reports can also help advocates see how ICE could interpret future guidance on enforcement,” said Jacinta Gonzalez, Senior Campaign Organizer at Mijente Support Committee. “Records like these are essential for holding ICE and the Biden administration accountable for what is happening in our communities. The FOIA request also seeks to discover whether ICE is complying with the reporting requirement.”
“ICE must follow its own guidelines,” said Raul Pinto, Senior Attorney at the American Immigration Council. “ICE enforcement activities were largely unchecked under the previous administration. Access to these reports is one way in which the public can hold ICE accountable and ensure the agency complies with its own directives now and in the future.”
A copy of the complaint is here.
For more information, contact:
Maria Frausto, American Immigration Council, mfrausto [at] immcouncil.org, 202-507-7526; or Jacinta Gonzalez, Mijente Support Committee, jacinta [at] mijente.net, 415-635-4950; or Donna De La Cruz, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, ddelacruz [at] ilrc.org, 202-441-3798.
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC works to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. Follow us at www.ilrc.org, and on Twitter and Instagram @the_ILRC.
The American Immigration Council works to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring. The Council brings together problem solvers and employs four coordinated approaches to advance change—litigation, research, legislative and administrative advocacy, and communications. Follow the latest Council news and information on ImmigrationImpact.com and Twitter @immcouncil.