For Immediate Release
January 19, 2016
Contact: Salvador Sarmiento,

BREAKING: DHS, ICE, and DOJ Sued in Federal Court Over Controversial Deportation Program

Washington, DC—On Tuesday morning, immigrant rights groups filed a federal lawsuit against ICE and 9 other federal agencies to compel the disclosure of information about a controversial and secretive deportation program, known as the “Priority Enforcement Program” (PEP). As the White House persists in targeting Central American refugees and revving up the deportation machinery, advocates are taking aim at PEP, which is fueling ongoing deportations.

“ICE is, once again, operating in secrecy. It’s time for the nation’s largest police force to come clean,” said Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). “PEP has failed to meet the bare minimum requirements for transparency and accountability.”

The groups filed litigation pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) following ICE’s refusal to provide a single document more than 10 months after the groups filed their request. Altogether the 10 agencies provided only 5 documents in response.

“While PEP-COMM is clouded in secrecy, DHS leadership is going on the offensive,” says Angela Chan, Policy Director at Asian-Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (AAAJ-ALC). “The White House is trying to compel state and local governments to participate in its new deportation program through misinformation and empty promises.”

“PEP’s predecessor, S-COMM, was mired in the same duplicity and double-speak that led to the largest-ever FOIA litigation in ICE history, and ultimately, the termination of the program,” said Danelly Bello of the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at Cardozo Law School.

“The public has the right to know whether PEP is different from S-COMM in reality or only in name,” says Bello. “It is imperative that immigrant communities learn about the practical implementation of this massive immigration enforcement program in order to assert their rights and protect their families.”

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York City by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus (AAAJ-ALC), and the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at the Cardozo School of Law.

Federal complaint available HERE


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