Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights v. United States Department of Homeland Security

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA __________________________________ ) HEARTLAND ALLIANCE FOR ) HUMAN NEEDS & HUMAN RIGHTS, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) Civil Action No. 16-211 (RMC) ) UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT ) OF HOMELAND SECURITY, et al., ) ) Defendants. ) _________________________________ ) MEMORANDUM OPINION The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) brings this Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to challenge the adequacy of responses to its FOIA requests from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its constituent agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). DHS and NIJC filed cross-motions for partial summary judgment. The Court will deny DHS’s motion for partial summary judgment because it has not demonstrated that an adequate search was conducted. It will grant in part NIJC’s motion for summary judgment. DHS will be directed to search for and produce all data underlying the draft statistical reports regarding Secure Communities and the Priority Enforcement Program. I. BACKGROUND NIJC is a nonprofit entity, under which the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights does business. It is “[d]edicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.” Compl. [Dkt. 1] ¶ 4. “Secure Communities was an immigration enforcement program administered by ICE from 2008 to 2014,” id. ¶ 7, and reinstituted in 2017. See Exec. Order No. 13,767, 82 Fed. Reg. 8,793 (Jan. 1 25, 2017). Secure Communities allowed fingerprints collected by police, which were provided “to the FBI for checks against various criminal justice databases” to also be turned over to DHS to determine “which fingerprinted arrestees may be removable aliens.” Ex. 6, Compl. (DHS FOIA Request) [Dkt. 1-11] at 8.1 As part of its mission, NIJC submitted requests under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 (2012), on March 14, 2014 to DHS and ICE regarding the Secure Communities program administered by ICE. See DHS FOIA Request; Ex. 12, Compl. (ICE FOIA Request) [Dkt. 1-17]. Both FOIA requests asked for the following: all records, including electronic records, in the custody or control of [DHS’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL)] related to the Statistical Monitoring of the Secure Communities Program, including but not limited to: (1) all reports produced related to the Secure Communities Statistical Monitoring, including all draft reports and reports produced by contracted statistician(s); (2) all communications, including emails, with ICE and/or contracted statistician(s) regarding Secure Communities Statistical Monitoring; (3) all records related to investigations on jurisdictions where statistical monitoring reports revealed “yellow flag” anomalies or were otherwise chosen for further investigation; (4) all records related to asserting DHS Title VI jurisdiction in relation to investigation(s) described in Request No. 3; (5) all communications with the DOJ Civil Rights Division regarding investigation(s) described in Request No. 3; (6) all findings produced as part of investigation(s) described in Request No. 3, including drafts of findings; 1 All page citations to record documents refer to the Electronic Case Filing (ECF) page number. 2 (7) all recommendations to ICE ...

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