Late yesterday, defendants in the case NDLON v ICE filed an appeal and emergency stay to block a court order requiring the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to make public a legal memorandum detailing the agency’s rationale for converting Se Communities into a mandatory program.
Federal district court Judge Shira Scheindlin had ordered ICE to produce the memorandum by November 14. Advocates will continue to argue for immediate release of this key memo. It is the only document produced to date that, although heavily redacted, appears to comprehensively describe the legal authority claimed by ICE in support of its position mandating state and local participation in the program.
Said Jessica Karp of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON), “While ICE has sprinted to implement S-Comm across the country, they’ve done the opposite to comply with court orders that would bring transparency to the program. The fact that the agency is fighting so hard to prevent the public’s access to this key document forces the question of what ICE is hiding.”
Instead of complying, ICE is challenging Judge Scheindlin’s October 24 Order which stated, “Once an agency has adopted a legal analysis as its own…that analysis becomes the government’s ‘working law,’ and the public ‘can only be enlightened by knowing what the [agency] believes the law to be.’”
Said Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Sunita Patel, “ICE’s on-going strategy of delaying release of important Se Communities documents must be stopped. Lack of transparency continues to prevent needed scrutiny of Se Communities. The public deserves access to the program’s full scope and underlying rationale.”
Said Sonia Lin of the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at the Cardozo School of Law, “States and localities around the country have opposed Se Communities and sought ways to limit the impact of the program on the safety and security of their communities. The public needs the truth about this massive deportation program now.”
The lawsuit was originally brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law with the law firm of Mayer Brown LLP on behalf of the National Day Laborer Organization Network.
Visit CCR’s NDLON v. ICE case page or the joint website, UncovertheTruth.org, for the text of the FOIA request, the lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York, and all other relevant documents.
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; 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