ICE's Refusal To Release Data

ICE is refusing to provide TRAC with more detailed information available in its computers that we requested under the Freedom of Information Act on May 17, 2010. TRAC's request sought anonymous alien-by-alien data that would allow the systematic analysis of how the agency is enforcing the nation's immigration laws, and included information about:

Without ICE data, we were unable to assess why judges are turning down so many ICE removal efforts, why turndowns during 2010 were climbing, or why ICE's record in some parts of the country was particularly poor.

The agency's refusal extended to information about the types of cases examined in this report, as well as to those ICE matters where individuals don't go through an Immigration Court and about which even less is known.

The agency's refusal was surprising. Much of the types of information TRAC sought had formerly been routinely released to TRAC and other requestors. In addition, the reasons ICE gave for its refusal were in themselves simply astounding had they been believable.

TRAC's November 8, 2010 letter addressed ICE's latest claims. Among these claims was ICE's assertion that in upgrading its database systems the agency had neglected to include the technical capacity to search for and retrieve much of the information the new databases contained. The full correspondence between ICE and TRAC can be found here.