For Immediate Release // Please excuse cross-posting 
March 20, 2015
Contact: SG Sarmiento, 202-746-2099

NDLON STATEMENT IN REACTION TO ICE DIRECTOR SALDAÑA's “AMEN” COMMENTS ABOUT UNCONSTITUTIONAL DEPORTATION POLICY

(Los Angeles, CA)—Today, ICE Director Sarah Saldaña issued a press release attempting to clarify her position on ICE’s unconstitutional practice that compelled police to detain immigrants. During yesterday’s House Oversight hearing, Rep. Mulvaney asked Saldaña if she would support legislation to mandate that “local communities cooperate” with ICE. Saldaña reponded, “Thank you. Yes. Amen.” The bizarre series of statements leaves uncertainty about the agency head’s position on DHS Secretary Johnson’s November 20, 2014 memo ending ICE's controversial and discredited Secure Communities deportation policy.  

In response to Director Saldaña’s recent statements and to news of recent deportations in Iowa and Philadelphia, Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), issued the following statement:

“Is ICE heading backward? There is an astonishing dissonance between the White House’s initiative to build community trust in law enforcement and it’s highly disingenuous deportation policy which felonizes immigrants and insists on transforming local police into frontline enforcers of unjust and outdated immigration laws. Director Saldaña’s recent remarks are exactly the kind of doublespeak that plagued the Secure Communities legacy for years. Indeed, we have yet to hear anyone clarify why SCOMM’s failed dragnet is still intact or operational, which is why we have demanded answers compelled by the Freedom of Information Act.

"The fact that the President has ostensibly offered relief to some immigrants does not excuse his policies which criminalize other immigrants. The president's pledge to target 'felons not families' is offensive to all those seeking to reform a criminal justice system that is plagued by a legacy of white supremacy. And Secretary Johnson’s recent invocation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s memory in defense of these new deportation policies is quite simply reprehensible. If the President wants to undo his legacy as “Deporter-in-Chief”, he must take steps immediately to advance equality for all immigrants, particularly as his limited DAPA initiative languishes in the courts.” 

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Published in Comunicados de prensa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE // PLEASE EXCUSE CROSS-POSTINGS // PLEASE FORWARD

Press Advisory
Date: March 16, 2015
Contacts: Claudia Bautista, Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo.

Immigrant Rights Groups Call for Transparency as They Serve FOIA Request to Uncover the Truth about ICE's “Discontinuation” of Secure Communities

WHAT: ICE out of LA Coalition will deliver FOIA request to local ICE Field Office

WHEN: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 9:30AM

WHERE: ICE Field Office 300 North Los Angeles, CA 90012 (front of bldg)

WHO: Individuals and immigrant rights organizations from Los Angeles County including - Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (AAAJ-LA), Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education Los Angeles (ASPIRE-LA), California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA), Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), Community Labor Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) Carwash Campaign, Dream Team Los Angeles (DTLA), Enlace, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Garment Worker Center, Immigrant Youth Coalition (IYC), Los Angeles Immigrant Youth Coalition (LA-IYC), National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), National Immigration Law Center (NILC), San Gabriel Valley Immigrant Youth Coalition (SGV-IYC)

(Los Angeles, CA) — On Tuesday, immigrant rights groups will gather outside of the local Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Field Office to deliver a copy of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request served to the Department of Homeland Security in New York last week. The ICE out of LA Coalition will also include a set of information inquiries about the work of ICE in the Los Angeles County--such as the extent of collaboration with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Departments, the 287(g) program, etc. The ICE out of LA Coalition considers the information requested to be vital to the work that we are doing on the ground and as a means for building trust between the community and local law enforcement.

This request for basic information about the PEP-COMM deportation program and other ICE Access Programs comes at a uniquely important time. Administrative relief offering work authorization for millions of immigrants remains temporarily postponed by a federal district court judge, Congress has now fully funded DHS to enforce demonstrably outdated and unjust laws, and President Obama’s own Task Force on Policing has called for a firewall between police and immigration functions. Against this backdrop, immigrant workers will call for transparency and accountability over ICE’s continued efforts to force local police into the immigration enforcement business.

“DHS has itself acknowledged the failure of Secure Communities, but this new program continues to entangle ICE with local police, leaving us with more questions than answers," said Jessica Karp Bansal, Litigation Director at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “At a bare minimum, DHS is obligated by law to be transparent with the public about what PEP means for immigrants and their families.”

The FOIA reads in part:

…the [Nov. 20th] memorandum gives very little information on how PEP differs from S-Comm, if at all. There is no reason for the public to believe that PEP is an improvement based on what has been presented to date… the public may still face all of the same abuses it faced under S-Comm. These include: a blurred line between local and state law enforcement and immigration enforcement; racial profiling and the targeting of immigrants…

Speakers will be available for comment.

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Published in Comunicados de prensa
Viernes, 13 Julio 2012 17:07

Precedent-Setting Ruling in E-FOIA Case

Court Orders FBI, DHS and ICE to Lift “Veil of Secrecy” and Comply With Freedom of Information Act

July 13, 2012, New York – Today, in an important victory for open government, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, of the Southern District of New York, ruled that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have failed to adequately search for and disclose information pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The ruling comes in NDLON v. ICE, a FOIA lawsuit brought by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, with representation by Mayer Brown LLP.  The suit seeks government records relating to the controversial Secure Communities (SCOMM) program.

Said Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Ghita Schwarz, “Today’s decision rightly holds the government to standards of transparency and accountability, an important step in stopping the harm this program is causing in our communities. Despite claims that SCOMM targets serious criminals, the fact is that SCOMM has done nothing but break families apart and undermine public safety by intimidating victims and witnesses of real crimes from reporting them.”

In a strongly worded opinion, Judge Scheindlin sided largely with plaintiffs, stating that “[t]ransparency is indeed expensive, but it pales in comparison to the cost of a democracy of operating behind a veil of secrecy.” Judge Scheindlin flatly rejected the defendant agencies’ claim that they should be “trusted to run effective searches” for records responsive to plaintiffs’ FOIA request “without providing a detailed description of those searches.”  Particularly harsh in its conclusions about the FBI’s failure to search for documents, Judge Scheindlin characterized as “absurd” their position that ordering an office to conduct a search and receiving no response satisfied government obligations under FOIA.  Pointing out that FOIA requires the government to “use twenty-first century technologies to effectuate congressional intent,” the decision broke new ground by ordering the government to “work cooperatively” with plaintiffs to “design and execute” new searches.

Said co-counsel Anthony Diana from Mayer Brown LLP, “Particularly important is the court’s recognition that the government should work with the FOIA requester to help alleviate some burdens associated with the search of a large volume of electronic data. In an era when government policies are crafted and implemented almost entirely through electronic documents, we hope that applying lessons learned in the civil e-discovery context in FOIA cases will promote transparency and accountability in government across the board.”

Said Jessica Karp of NDLON, “It is fitting that today’s decision comes at the end of a national week of action to ‘Restore Trust’ broken by the Secure Communities deportation program. Transparency and accountability are essential if we are to repair the damage done by this program that is spreading Arizona-style policies around the country. We are especially hopeful that the new searches will bring much-needed transparency to the role of the FBI in forcing this dangerous program on unwilling states and localities.”

Said Sonia Lin of the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Cardozo School of Law, “Today’s decision underscores the importance of transparency about controversial government policies such as SComm.  The court rightly observed that this FOIA litigation has ‘influenced much of the public debate over Secure Communities’ and that through this litigation, FOIA has ‘therefore served its purpose of engendering a more informed public and a more accountable government.’ Indeed, this week, Chicago announced a proposal to reject SCOMM and former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau publicly called for state and local ability to opt out of the program, which he described as ‘the worst kind of public policy.’”

SCOMM is an ICE deportation program that checks the immigration status of anyone arrested by local and state police, regardless of the charges and whether those charges are later dismissed.   

For more information on NDLON v. ICE or for a copy of the Judge's ruling, visit www.ccrjustice.org/secure-communities. For more information on Secure Communities visit http://uncoverthetruth.org/

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org and follow @theCCR.

The mission of the National Day Laborer Organization Network is to improve the lives of day laborers in the U.S. by unifying and strengthening its member organizations to be more strategic and effective in their efforts to develop leadership, mobilize day laborers in order to protect and expand their civil, labor and human rights. Visit www.ndlon.org

The Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law was founded in 2008 to provide quality pro bono legal representation to indigent immigrants facing deportation. Under the supervision of experienced practitioners, law students in the Clinic represent individuals facing deportation and community-based organizations in public advocacy, media and litigation projects. Visit www.cardozo.yu.edu/immigrationjustice

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