Nonprofit Group Seeks Sanctions Against Immigration Agency

May 28, 2019 by Tom Ramstack
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection uniform patch during a U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on migration on the Southern U.S Border on April 9, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Edelman/Getty Images/TNS) **FOR USE WITH THIS STORY ONLY**

WASHINGTON – A national civil rights group is asking a federal judge in Colorado to sanction U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE for “atrocious litigation conduct.”

The federal agency is requiring the nonprofit organization to do a computer keyword search to find information about conditions at two immigrant detention centers, despite the fact the group says its effort with the searches turned up no useful information.

The lawsuit resulted from a Freedom of Information Act request the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center made last year to both ICE and the Department of Homeland Security.

After failing to get the information it sought, the center filed a lawsuit alleging ICE stonewalled its efforts to obtain documents about two immigrants who died in U.S. custody. The group also sought documents about the medical and mental health care of detained immigrants at ICE centers in Alabama and California.

The judge now is considering the organization’s motion for legal costs and its demand for ICE to produce the relevant documents.

The court previously approved a framework that the center could use for obtaining the documents.

However, in a court filing last week the center accused ICE of impeding production of the remaining estimated 60,000 documents by requiring what the group called a “useless” keyword search of the agency’s database.

The documents are being drawn from categories of information that the organization characterized as the most important.

One set of documents seeks information on immigrants Vincente Caceres Maradiaga and Kamyar Samimi. They both died in 2017 while at ICE detention centers, according to the center.

The nonprofit group says ICE originally denied it had documents on the deaths of the two immigrants. ICE also refused to check further to see whether they could be found, the group says.

Later, on April 24, ICE told the group that it interpreted its Freedom of Information Act request as seeking information only on “completed death reviews” rather than any that might be ongoing, the center said in its complaint.

The next day, ICE changed its story to acknowledge it had information on both the ongoing and completed reviews of the immigrants’ deaths, the center said.

“Virtually every word uttered by ICE as set forth above has been disingenuous at best,” the organization said in its motion for court-ordered sanctions. “ICE has been well aware of both death investigation files for the entire pendency of this action but pretended they did not exist.”

The center said ICE knew the keyword searches would be a waste of time.

“The Samimi death review, to be charitable, reveals callously neglectful medical practices that resulted in the death of a detained immigrant, followed by a coverup,” the center’s attorneys wrote in their motion.

The case is Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security et al., in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

Immigration

Trump Administration’s Census Plan Might Leave Out Some Legal Residents
Census
Trump Administration’s Census Plan Might Leave Out Some Legal Residents

WASHINGTON — A Trump administration plan to use the census to exclude from congressional representation immigrants who are living here illegally might inadvertently exclude many U.S. citizens living under the radar in states such as Alaska, New Mexico and West Virginia. Last week, a federal appeals... Read More

Appeals Court Says Trump Can Deport Hundreds of Thousands of Immigrants
Immigration
Appeals Court Says Trump Can Deport Hundreds of Thousands of Immigrants

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court decided 2-1 Monday that the Trump administration may deport hundreds of thousands of immigrants who previously received temporary protected status for humanitarian reasons. The 2-1 ruling by a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an... Read More

This Rural Minnesota Town Swelled With Immigrants. But Will Census Count Them?
Census
This Rural Minnesota Town Swelled With Immigrants. But Will Census Count Them?

MILAN, Minn. — The October chill hit Gabriel Elias like a truck when he reached the airport parking lot in Minneapolis. He recalls surveying the cold, unfamiliar landscape. The trees looked near death. As his uncle drove nearly three hours across the Minnesota prairie, Elias began... Read More

Congress Questions Customs and Border Protection Over Border Wall Construction Contracts
Congress
Congress Questions Customs and Border Protection Over Border Wall Construction Contracts
August 28, 2020
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON – A change in Customs and Border Protection policy that allows the agency to award its own contracts for select U.S.-Mexico border wall construction projects is being questioned by congressional members. In a letter addressed to acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan, Reps. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y.,... Read More

Trump’s Latest Move Would Gut DACA Program, Dreamers Say
Immigration
Trump’s Latest Move Would Gut DACA Program, Dreamers Say

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration’s move to curtail a program sparing young immigrants from deportation is an effort to “dismantle” an initiative the U.S. Supreme Court just spared, a group of immigrants said in court. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said last month that the... Read More

Florida Quietly Changed Driver’s License Requirements for Immigrants
Immigration
Florida Quietly Changed Driver’s License Requirements for Immigrants

MIAMI — Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants who have been able to drive legally in Florida may be unable to get driver’s licenses again, after the state quietly changed its identification requirements for obtaining licenses. In May the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top