Immigration Attorneys to Sue D.H.S for Refusing to Disclose Records

Immigration Attorneys to Sue Department of Homeland Security

Posted by the Immigration Lawyers at Alcock & Associates in Phoenix, Arizona

Last week, immigration attorneys and other public advocates announced their intention to file a suit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for its refusal to disclose records on its immense immigration enforcement intiative, the Criminal Alien Program (CAP).

The basis for the lawsuit is to compel DHS and its enforcement agency ICE to disclose records that may shed light on their detention strategies, with hopes of greater transparency between public immigration advocates and enforcement agents.

Advocates for such change point to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which they believe requires federal agencies such as DHS to produce certain records upon request of concerned parties. The advocates main complaint is that they have been asking for years to be able to see the operating principles behind the CAP program, to gain clarity and better advise clients, but have been unable because of resistence from DHS, which they believe has “shrouded the CAP program in secrecy.”

How CAP works: Under CAP, ICE agents are sent to detention centers to initiate deportation proceedings against people charged or convicted of criminal offenses who have been identified as present in the United States without permission. Arizona’s famous Sheriff Joe Arpaio was recently stripped of some of his authority under one such CAP program, 287(g), due to a DOJ investigation alleging some serious abuses of civil rights. Some sources indicate that under the CAP program over the past half decade, more than one million people convicted or charged of criminal violations have been investigated and passed through to immigration.

Opponents of CAP label it a deportation focused intiative which often places those with little to no significant criminal history in immigration proceedings just because they pass through the system and are identified as being present in the States without legal status.

As a federal agency, the argument goes, ICE is subject to the mandate of FOIA just like any other, and as such should not be allowed to avoid its obligation to disclose relevant records, records advocates hope will help shed light on frustrating, and sometimes abuse, immigration and deportation practices.

Phoenix-based immigration attorney Darius Amiri hopes this suit holds ground. “It is frustrating when you see someone who’s been here for 18 years and did not choose to enter illegally face deportation for something as trivial as a jaywalking ticket,” says Amiri. “Hopefully, when ICE is compelled to shed light on its CAP practices and methods, we can figure out a way to focus on serious threats to our nation’s security and the safety of our communities, instead of targeting innocent people and breaking up families.”

For more information on immigration proceedings in Phoenix, Arizona, contact an immigration lawyer at Alcock & Associates, or call at 602-989-5000.

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