Tell ICE: Stop Hiding Data About Deportation Programs

Tell ICE: Stop Hiding Data About Deportation Programs

November 12, 2010
Petition to
DHS Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Morton and
Petition Closed
This petition had 164 supporters

Why this petition matters

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has lauded its record-breaking removal numbers for fiscal year 2010. The agency credits programs like Secure Communities for removing dangerous criminals from our streets. But a recent study found that the agency is arresting thousands of people who should not be in federal custody at all.

Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse released data showing that during the last three months of fiscal year 2010, immigration judges found that nearly one-third of the people ICE brought before the courts for deportation proceedings should not be deported-a notable increase over recent years. The data obtained from the Department of Justice through a Freedom of Information Act request, also showed that over the course of the full year, judges in New York City, Oregon, Los Angeles, Miami, and Philadelphia refused to order people deported in more than half the cases brought by ICE. TRAC credits the increase to a rise in the number of cases "terminated" by judges because the government could not prove that people actually were deportable.

TRAC and a coalition of families of detained immigrants have each asked the immigration agency for data that could provide further insight into enforcement practices that are resulting in so many unnecessary arrests. But despite U.S. open records laws requiring that the government make this kind of information available, ICE has effectively refused to release it by demanding exorbitant processing fees.

When President Obama entered office in 2009, he announced a new era of openness in which federal offices were encouraged to comply with FOIA requests.

More recently, ICE has promised improved transparency of its own operations and even set up a "FOIA Reading Room" to post frequently requested documents. But the FOIA law is not meant to be applied selectively. ICE's enforcement practices are unfairly criminalizing immigrants and tearing apart families-at a cost to taxpayers of $5.7 billion.

Americans have a right to know what is really happening at ICE.

Tell ICE to release public information about programs that have led to a dramatic increase in arrests and deportations.

Photo Credit: Orin Zebest

Petition Closed

This petition had 164 supporters

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