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May 19, 2014

Syracuse Researchers Sue ICE Alleging Access To Deportations Data Is Being Denied
By Juan E. Gastelum

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last week, the co-directors of the the Transactional Record Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University allege ICE and DHS violated the Freedom of Information Act, the Administrative Practices Act, and the administrative rules of both agencies multiple times, according to a press release published on its website Monday. The lawsuit came as a result of a recent decision by ICE, which is the enforcement branch of DHS, to charge researchers additional fees for data after the agency classified TRAC as seeking records to further a commercial trade for profit. Until then, TRAC had been classified as either an educational institution or news media. “If we can’t get access to the data, then we can’t do anything,” TRAC co-director Susan B. Long, an associate professor of managerial statistics at the Syracuse’s Martin J. Whitman School of of Management, told BuzzFeed. “We try to make data about what the federal government does in enforcing the immigration laws accessible to the public, so people can understand what the government is or isn’t doing; so that they can separate rhetoric from the underlying facts of what’s actually going on from the government’s own data.” David Burnham, a former New York Times investigative reporter who is now an associate research professor at the university, is the other co-director. They have led TRAC for more than 25 years, making data and reports about “a wide range of long-hidden government activities” available to news organizations, academic groups, Congress, and the government itself, they say.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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