SU Researchers Take ICE Officials To Court Over Withheld Immigration Information

(AP Photo/Mark Avery)
Friday, Mar 31, 2017 at 3:49 pm by Taylor Lang

Researchers at Syracuse University are taking Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials to court after the agency denied to release information that has been disclosed in public records for the past 13 years.

Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse has received detainer-by-detainer information in response to the Freedom of Information Act for over a decade. TRAC uses these records for its online free web query tool that allows the public to search all immigration detainers and notices in local law agencies.

The tool shows whether or not people have been detained by ICE, if the person was taken into custody, and if they were ultimately deported. This web tool can be accessed HERE.

Susan B. Long, the co-director of TRAC at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, is leading the litigations against ICE for not disclosing the information normally given.

“We’re in court and have been against ICE,” she said. “We have been in a series of litigations against ICE for sometime now, so it’s not new. They’re resisting information to the public about data they collect. It’s disappointing that a law enforcement agency isn’t complying with the law.”

ICE says that the information given in the past had been released based on the discretion of the agency. ICE claims that it is not withholding mandatory information, rather it is no longer willing to give out the extra details, according to the TRAC website.

Without this information, TRAC cannot make important comparisons for the public, such as how often ICE has taken people into custody but found it did not have a legal basis to deport them.

The information that is being released to TRAC includes the gender, nationality, and citizenship of the immigrant as well as the date the detainer was processed and to which law enforcement agency it went to, according to NBC News.

TRAC claims itself as the source for comprehensive, independent and non-partisan information about federal enforcement, funding, and staffing.