(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for all records concerning the suspension of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Declined Detainer Outcome Report. (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:17-cv-01008)).
The suit was filed after the Department of Homeland Security failed to respond to an April 13, 2017, FOIA request seeking:
All complaints received by ICE concerning the [Declined Detainer Outcome Report];
All records concerning the suspension of the weekly publication of the [Declined Detainer Outcome Report]; and
All records identifying the reporting methodologies used to create the [Declined Detainer Outcome Report].
The Declined Detainer Outcome Reports highlighted state and local governments, often referred to as sanctuary cities, that did not comply with ICE’s detainer program.
ICE places detainers on aliens who have been arrested on local criminal charges and for whom ICE possesses probable cause to believe that they are removable from the United States, so that ICE can take custody of the alien when he or she is released from local custody. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission.
According to CNN, the Trump Administration suspended publication of the Declined Detainer Outcome Reports on April 11, 2017, after only three weeks and three total reports due to “complaints.” The Hill further reported that according to ICE spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez, the Declined Detainer Outcome Reports were halted in order to “analyze and refine [the organization’s] reporting methodologies.”
“Sanctuary cities are violating federal law and putting public at risk. It’s that simple,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Citizens and immigrants alike deserve to know why this useful report exposing sanctuary city lawlessness was discontinued.”
In April, Judicial Watch obtained 204 illegal alien Detainer Requests denied to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the Travis County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office. The illegal aliens protected by the Sheriff’s Office were charged or convicted of 31 acts of violence, 14 thefts or burglaries, and three acts or threats of terrorism. Forty-four of the denied requests were for inmates originally detained by Homeland Security and temporarily transferred to Travis County (home to the state capital in Austin) for disposition of state or local charges.