Putting TRAC to Work
  Legal and Scholarly
June 9, 2017

Syracuse Center Sues Over Withheld FOIA Immigration Data
By Steven Trader

The leaders of a data-gathering and research center associated with Syracuse University sued the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Thursday over its sudden withholding of certain information from the centerís Freedom of Information Act requests related to undocumented immigrant investigations and deportations. Susan B. Long and David Burnham, who act as co-directors of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, alleged in a D.C. federal court filing Thursday that ICE has for years complied with its FOIA requests for certain anonymous data from its Enforcement Integrated Database about each person whom the agency had deported through the governmentís ďSecure CommunitiesĒ program and any successor programs. However, in response to TRACís most recent FOIA request for the same type of data spanning a period of 15 months from the start of 2015 through August 2016, the immigration agency this time withheld much of the information, saying in a January letter that the data didnít exist and that the agency was under no obligation to create those records, Long and Burnham alleged in their complaint. The co-directors explained that when TRAC submits its FOIA requests, it overlaps time periods, for instance submitting a request in December 2015 for all of the 2015 data, and then submitting a request in August 2016 for all of the 2015 data up through August 2016.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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