Holding the executive branch accountable to the people
August 24, 2016
(Washington, D.C.) – On behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) announced today that it has filed a lawsuit (attached here) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking records from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) concerning, among other things, certain DHS directives sent to ICE attorneys ordering them to no longer vigorously pursue cases in removal proceedings and to commit to a greater exercise of “prosecutorial discretion.” (Federation for American Immigration Reform v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Civil No.1:16-cv-01717). The records being sought span seven separate requests, each of which has been unlawfully stonewalled by the agency.
As part of its ongoing effort to educate the American public about the Obama Administration’s continued usurpation of our immigration laws, FAIR had requested numerous categories of documents related to the dramatic changes in ICE’s enforcement policies made over the last few years. Specifically, FAIR seeks data and directives from the ICE Office of Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) regarding orders commanding ICE attorneys to dismiss cases based on prosecutorial discretion; data and policy guidance commanding ICE attorneys to withhold appeals, to refrain from cross-examining suspected removable aliens, and to refrain from attending removal proceedings; and data showing the number of orders from OPLA denying ICE attorneys’ requests for witnesses and ICE agent testimony.
FAIR had also requested the following: records of reported communications among top officials attacking front-line agents angered by the Administration’s unilateral rewrite of our immigration laws; ICE resources spent on the Unaccompanied Alien Minor (UAM)-surge (which immediately followed the President’s first executive amnesty announcement); records of Central American governments and other nations refusing to take back their deported nationals; updated criminal alien-release-figures; records showing the extent removal hearing no-shows are actually being pursued; directives instructing officials to alter removal statistics; and data showing the trends in ‘credible fear’-claims being made by illegal aliens apprehended by ICE.
IRLI Executive Director, Dale L. Wilcox, commented, “IRLI is chagrined that it must sue again and again to force the Obama Administration to comply with our open records law, but nevertheless we will continue the fight to expose the misdeeds of this Administration and hold it accountable to the rule of law.” Wilcox continued, “The records we expect to receive in response to our suit we hope will raise public awareness regarding Obama’s no-borders policies and the unfair burden those policies have placed on Americans and their local communities.”