Putting TRAC to Work
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Michigan Radio
July 19, 2017

It's a federal agency. It can arrest people in your town. It won't say who it has in custody.
By Dustin Dwyer

"Iíve been doing this kind of work, back going into the early '70s, says Susan Long, co-director of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. TRAC has a long title, but its mission is pretty simple. It submits Freedom of Information Act requests to agencies all throughout the federal government and then posts the records online for people to see. Long says thereís huge variation in the responsiveness of different agencies. ICE is one of the worst at releasing information "Whatís an agency that you have more trouble with than ICE?" I ask Long. She hesitates for a bit. Says itís hard to make a perfect comparison. But: "I would compare ICE with the CIA," she says. "We are also in litigation against them." "So," I ask, "ICE is as secretive as the CIA, in your experience?" "Well," she says, "in terms of the records weíve been seeking, yes." But ICE isnít the CIA. The CIA doesnít make arrests all over the country. I did reach out to ICE, multiple times, for comment on this story. I submitted a public records request for information on the arrests in metro Detroit in June. The agency said its privacy policy prevented it from releasing the information. Thatís even though ICE regularly releases the names of certain people it arrests. No one from ICE would agree to an interview to clarify the policy.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2017
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