U.S. immigration agency ignoring requests for data, complaint records: ACLU

Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:53am EDT

A border patrol agent opens the entrance to a temporary holding facility at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Forward Operating Base (FOB) Hedglen located southeast of Douglas, Arizona August 8, 2013. REUTERS/Samantha Sais

A border patrol agent opens the entrance to a temporary holding facility at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Forward Operating Base (FOB) Hedglen located southeast of Douglas, Arizona August 8, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Samantha Sais

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April 29 - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has ignored repeated requests for stop-and-search data and other information related to its "extensive but largely opaque" border-patrol operations in southern Arizona, a civil rights group alleged in a lawsuit filed on Monday.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in a complaint filed in a U.S. District Court in Arizona, said the agency has ignored two requests made in January 2014 seeking information under the Freedom of Information Act.

The requests sought information on policies, complaints, and vehicle stops and searches, among other specifics on checkpoints and so-called roving patrols in the Tucson and Yuma areas. The ACLU, which has demanded an investigation of checkpoints near the U.S.-Mexico border, has accused law enforcement officials of abuse of authority and violations of the constitutional rights of local residents.

"For Border Patrol to be held accountable they have to be transparent. But the agency consistently refuses to share basic information with the American people while rights violations are rampant," ACLU attorney James Lyall said in a statement.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit comes amid a protracted fight over immigration policy in the United States, which is home to some 11 million undocumented immigrants. Immigration-reform legislation remains stalled in the Republican-led House of Representative, leading to an open clash this month with President Barack Obama.

Obama has directed the Department of Homeland Security to enforce immigration laws "more humanely," the White House said in March.

The Supreme Court on April 21 declined to revive a provision of Arizona's controversial 2010 immigration law that made it a criminal offense to encourage illegal immigrants to enter the state or to harbor or transport them within Arizona.

The ACLU has demanded a federal probe into the operations at U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints in Arizona. Among the alleged abuses cited in the complaint were extended interrogation and detention unrelated to determining a person's immigration status, unwarranted searches, racial profiling, verbal harassment and physical assault.

The ACLU also alleged, in an October complaint, numerous abuses by border patrol agents on "roving patrols" in southern Arizona. Those included included unlawful vehicle stops and searches, excessive use of force, destruction of private property and trespassing, including one such case that was reported roughly 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Larry King)

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Comments (5)
wigglwagon wrote:
The solution to the problem of illegal immigration is very simple and very cheap.

Congress should institute a bill mandating prison time without parole for the employers of illegal workers. That would virtually end the problem of illegal immigration. That would also put at least 8 million American workers back on jobs and paying taxes instead of needing to collect unemployment and welfare.

Actually, it would not just be cheap. America would come out hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars ahead. Just think, 8 million families off of welfare and back to paying taxes like they used to do when America was enforcing it’s laws.

Apr 29, 2014 6:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
CountryPride wrote:
Time for another Operation Wetback like Eisenhower did in the 50′s. We did it once, we can do it again. Out with all the illegals and it’s time to close all loopholes related to their crimmigration in this country!

Apr 29, 2014 9:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
moosemyfrnds wrote:
here is the other fake immigration reform. Somali Muslims came here as refugee on our tax dollars. According to the Federal Government, A refugee is someone who has fled from his or her home country and cannot return because he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. YET Somali Muslims in Minnesota are agitating on behalf of savage jihadists in Kenya. For one, think of the brutal torture and murder of mall shoppers in the Westgate mall jihad. Kenya is under bloody siege by jihad militias. And yet members of the Twin Cities’ Somali-American community gathered at the state Capitol after Friday prayer s to express “solidarity and demand justice for relatives in Kenya” waging jihad Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Apr 29, 2014 1:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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