ACLU Immigrants’ Rts. Project v. ICE

21-1233 ACLU Immigrants’ Rts. Project v. ICE In the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit AUGUST TERM 2021 No. 21-1233 AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION IMMIGRANTS’ RIGHTS PROJECT, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. UNITED STATES IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT, Defendant-Appellee. __________ ARGUED: MAY 18, 2022 DECIDED: JANUARY 26, 2023 __________ Before: RAGGI, WESLEY, and CARNEY, Circuit Judges. ________________ In this action under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), plaintiff appeals an award of summary judgment in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (George B. Daniels, Judge) in favor of defendant, arguing that the district court erred in concluding that requiring defendant to substitute Unique Identifying Numbers (“Unique IDs”) for FOIA-exempt agency Alien Identification Numbers (“A-Numbers”) in order to afford plaintiff access to non-exempt agency records in a person-centric manner constituted the impermissible creation of new records. In the 1 21-1233 ACLU Immigrants’ Rts. Project v. ICE particular circumstances of this case, we reject the district court’s conclusion. A government agency cannot make an exempt record (here, A-Numbers), the sole “key” or “code” necessary to access non- exempt records in a particular manner; itself use the exempt record to obtain non-exempt records in that manner; and then invoke the record’s exempt status to deny the public similar access to the non- exempt records. Where an agency chooses to assign exempt records such a code function within its computer system, FOIA’s broad disclosure policy obligates the agency to substitute a different code in order to afford the public non-exempt records in the same manner as they are available to the agency. That conclusion particularly obtains here, where the substitute code can be neutral Unique IDs consisting of any combinations of numbers, letters, or symbols that are meaningless in themselves and that function only to afford access to the non-exempt records in the requested manner. REVERSED AND REMANDED. _________________ NOOR ZAFAR, American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project, New York, NY (Michael Tan; Cody Wofsy, American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project, San Francisco, CA; Carmen G. Iguina Gonzalez, American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project, Washington, DC, on the brief), for Plaintiff- Appellant. ZACHARY BANNON, Assistant United States Attorney (Benjamin H. Torrance, Assistant 2 21-1233 ACLU Immigrants’ Rts. Project v. ICE United States Attorney, on the brief), for Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, New York, NY, for Defendant-Appellee. EMILY J. CREIGHTON, American Immigration Council, Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae The American Immigration Council, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Emily Ryo, Ingrid Eagly, Tom Wong, American Oversight, Open the Government, National Immigrant Justice Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, in support of Plaintiff-Appellant. DAVID GREENE, Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco, CA, for Amicus Curiae Electronic Frontier Foundation, in support of Plaintiff-Appellant. MASON A. KORTZ, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, for Amici Curiae The Center for Investigative Reporting, The Media Law Resource Center, Inc., and The MuckRock …

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Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals