TRAC Sues ICE on Withholding Data on Detainers
(09 May 2017) The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) filed a suit today under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) charging Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with unlawfully withholding records related to ICE's immigration enforcement actions and its interaction with other law enforcement agencies.

At issue are ICE's use of detainers. These are requests from ICE to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to hold immigrants in their custody and to turn them over to ICE for possible deportation. Under President Trump, the agency announced that it was making stepped up usage of detainers a cornerstone of its immigration enforcement strategy. The agency further threatened local jurisdictions with the withholding of federal funds if they failed to comply with ICE detainers.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Susan B. Long and David Burnham, co-directors of TRAC, a non- partisan research data center at Syracuse University's Newhouse and Whitman Schools. For years, in response to its regular requests for updated agency records, TRAC had received detailed case-by-case data on ICE's use of detainers. Starting abruptly in January 2017, ICE began refusing to disclose much of the information produced in its previous responses to TRAC's FOIA requests.

Because of ICE's refusal to release these and other details on detainer usage, the government has prevented TRAC from providing the public with vital up-to-date information on its enforcement activities. For example, TRAC is being prevented from updating its online free web-query tool. That tool is designed to allow the public to view all detainers as well as notices issued to each local law enforcement agency since FY 2003, month-by-month, and then trace what subsequently happens to these individuals.

Long and Burnham are represented in the suit on a pro bono basis by attorneys Mona Houck and Terence Keegan at Miller Korzenik Sommers Rayman LLP.

For more details on this matter, including the full text of TRAC's complaint, see:

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