Long v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (2017)
The co-directors of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) filed this Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for its unlawful decision to cease providing numerous fields of data from an immigration-related law enforcement and operations database.
For years, in response to monthly FOIA requests to ICE for updated agency records, TRAC had received detailed case-by-case data on each ICE deportation related to removal programs called Secure Communities and the Priority Enforcement Program. The data had allowed TRAC to publish many widely relied upon research reports, as well as to create and provide online databases that allow the public to trace the focus and impact of the government's use of detainers month-by-month under these programs on actual deportations.
In January of this year, ICE began refusing to disclose much of the information produced in its previous responses to TRAC's monthly FOIA requests. ICE does not claim the withheld information is exempt from disclosure under any exemption to FOIA. Rather, ICE asserts that the requested information does not exist, that producing it would constitute the “creation” of records, and that past releases were discretionary, not required under FOIA.
Represented by Public Citizen, Plaintiffs filed suit seeking disclosure of the withheld fields of data.
Find TRAC's press release here.