For Immediate Release:
February 3, 2014
Susan B. Long, TRAC (315) 443-3563
David Burnham, TRAC (202) 518-9000
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TRAC Charges Immigration and Customs Enforcement
and Customs and Border Protection Violate FOIA Law

Syracuse, NY, February 3 — The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) has filed a suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) charging two major Department of Homeland Security agencies — Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — with multiple violations of the FOIA. TRAC's suit asks the court to order the two agencies to make public: These data repositories include:

TRAC's lawsuit — filed in Washington on January 29, 2014 by the Public Citizen Litigation Group — was brought to the court after more than three years of fruitless efforts in seven separate FOIA administrative requests to obtain this factual information. According to ICE's FOIA website, two of TRAC's requests to the agency, submitted to it back in October 2010, are among ICE's three oldest unanswered matters.

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.

"Before the American people, the immigration groups, the immigration lawyers and the scholars can use the FOIA to better inform themselves about the government's sweeping enforcement activities, they must know what information is available and where it is stored," Long and Burnham said in a statement. "With the definitive directory we now seek, we hope the tedious and unlawful efforts of the agencies to limit informed insight can be reduced."

For twenty-five years, TRAC has been using the FOIA in a largely successful effort to obtain comprehensive data about how the government enforces the law, collects taxes and litigates cases. TRAC's actions have provided scholars, journalists, public interest groups, lawyers and others with the comprehensive data they require to independently analyze the performance of the federal government.

A major focus of TRAC's work over the past eight years has been documenting federal immigration enforcement practices. Long and Burnham are represented in the suit on a pro bono basis by Jehan A. Patterson and Scott L. Nelson of the Public Citizen Litigation Group.

TRAC plans to use the data obtained through this lawsuit in its ongoing research on immigration enforcement practices. Results from this research, along with accompanying data query tools to access supporting data, would be made available on TRAC's public website,