DHS and ICE violate Freedom of Information Act by failing to respond to six month old request.
Atlanta, GA – October 24, 2012
Today the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) and the ACLU of Georgia filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The suit seeks public records documenting the effects of Georgia’s increasing involvement in immigration enforcement, including information that will shed light on increasing reports of racial profiling and police abuse.
The two organizations requested the records over six months ago. With representation by the ACLU of Georgia, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, the lawsuit alleges that DHS and ICE have failed to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, and demands the release of the requested records.
Azadeh Shahshahani, counsel for the ACLU of Georgia commented, “Transparency is integral to a democratic society. Yet by withholding the records, ICE is preventing the shining of much needed light on the extent of the collaboration between this agency and local police in Georgia.”
The impact of Georgia’s experiment with immigration enforcement—through 287(g) agreements, the Se Communities program, and HB 87—is largely unstudied. The records sought in the lawsuit will reveal who is being targeted for immigration enforcement, and how increased immigration enforcement by police is impacting public safety and civil rights.
Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of GLAHR explained, “Immigrant communities have felt the aggression inside their own local neighborhoods since the implementation of 287(g) and the Se Communities Program. HB87 increased the anti-immigrant climate and now overwhelming amounts of family members in our communities have been detained under minor traffic violations, as many of them are being arrested without a ‘probable cause.’
Throughout the state of Georgia we are organizing to keep racial profiling out of our communities and we want to be informed about the programs that we see contributing to it. We shouldn’t have to sue for transparency but if the Department of Homeland Security and ICE refuse to honor the law, we will do what it takes to shine a light on what is happening in Georgia.”
A Copy of the Suit is Available Upon Request.