A U.S. District Court in Connecticut approved a settlement in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit which challenged Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on its refusal to release documents about the Criminal Alien Program (CAP). The agency’s largest enforcement programs were under scrutiny for a while and inquiries were not answered by ICE.
Little known about nationwide program
The CAP program is important because it spans across the nation and is active in all state and federal prisons. More than 300 local jails throughout the country used the program which is important for half of all deportation proceedings. The goal of CAP is to target the worst criminal offenders, but it appears that there were individuals who were targeted with little or no criminal history for deportation and who were victims of racial profiling. The CAP facilities are responsible for removing hundreds of thousands of individuals annually with little information open to the public about its procedures and records. The American Immigration Council working with the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic of Yale Law School and the Connecticut chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association filed a lawsuit to compel ICE to disclose the information about CAP.
Activist groups working on released information
Under the settlement, ICE will have to produce numerous records including: (1) a report of all encounters by ICE officials with individuals in the CAP program since 2010 (2) Policies that guide the implementation and operation of CAP (3) Records regarding the relationship between CAP and other ICE programs (4) and policies regarding racial profiling in CAP activities. The American Immigration Council has updated a CAP fact sheet giving a comprehensive overview of the program and says they have gained much insight from the steps taken during litigation. It is still unknown how much of the information gathered about ICE is going to be used and revealed at a local level, but the groups are excited that they have the opportunity to gain more knowledge about a program that involves so many people.
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