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National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild v. ICE

In September 2017, several individuals and immigrant rights organizations across the county requested records from ICE concerning “Operation Mega,” which news reports indicated had been planned as a nationwide enforcement operation to apprehend noncitizens that would target several thousand noncitizens. Public Citizen Litigation Group represents three FOIA requesters—the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Mijente Support Committee, and Detention Watch Network—in a lawsuit seeking to compel ICE to provide responsive records.

After the lawsuit was filed, ICE agreed to a production schedule and disclosed several thousands of pages of responsive records. The records produced were a key component of the Blueprint for Terror report released by Mijente, Detention Watch Network, and Just Futures Law: https://mijente.net/icepapers/.  The National Immigration Project stopped pursuing additional documents at that time, but Mijente and Detention Watch Network continued the litigation.

After ICE completed the production, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on the sole issue remaining in the litigation: whether ICE satisfied its burden under FOIA of justify its redactions to a document referred to as “Criminal Street Gangs Investigations Handbook.” In September 2020, the court ruled for ICE, on that narrow issue, holding that ICE had shown that the redactions to the handbook fell within exemption 5’s deliberative process privilege and that ICE had properly segregated exempt and non-exempt information.