WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine today filed a lawsuit seeking to force U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to provide answers about recent ICE enforcement actions in the District. The lawsuit alleges ICE did not properly respond to AG Racine’s requests demanding information about ICE raids in predominantly Latino communities in the District this summer. The requests asked ICE to identify the individuals who were detained, give reasons for the detentions, and explain the agency’s immigration enforcement policies. OAG’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit asks a federal court to order ICE to respond to the requests.
“We are very concerned that District residents may have been racially profiled and unfairly targeted during ICE raids in the city this summer,” said Attorney General Racine. “We are also eager to learn more about the individuals who were detained, including their current status. Our immigrant neighbors should not have to live in fear of law enforcement. District residents deserve to know the facts regarding the ICE raids.”
Under FOIA, federal agencies are required to respond to requests for information within 20 days of receiving the request. That response must at least include information about the scope of documents that the agency will produce in response to the request, and the scope of documents the agency plans to withhold under FOIA exemptions. An agency may be entitled to one 10-day extension of time to respond if it provides written notice of “unusual circumstances” that warrant additional time. If an agency fails to comply with any of the timing requirements, this is considered denial of a FOIA request, and the requester can petition the court for release of responsive records.
A copy of the lawsuit is available at: http://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2018-10/ICE-FOIA-Complaint.pdf
A copy of the suit’s supporting exhibits is available at: http://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2018-10/ICE-FOIA-Exhibits.pdf
In his letter, AG Racine asked ICE for information about the agency’s enforcement policies, such as racial and ethnic profiling and the level of suspicion required to apprehend or detain an individual.
In the wake of the raids, OAG issued tips for residents on social media in English and Spanish to help them know their rights if they are confronted by ICE agents. OAG also issued guidance for local business and workers related to immigration enforcement in the workplace (English and Spanish), and guidance for school staff and parents related to immigration enforcement in District schools (English and Spanish).
In 2018, AG Racine joined with other attorneys general to take action against the Trump administration to protect public safety funding for “sanctuary” cities; stop a cruel family separation policy; keep longtime District residents from El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras from losing their protected status; fight for hard-working “dreamers” to stay in the United States; and to oppose the “Muslim travel ban.”