Family Separation FOIA Request

Family Separation FOIA Request

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, National Immigrant Justice Center, Kids in Need of Defense, and Women's Refugee Commission, filed requests for information regarding family separation under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552.

The requests ask for policies, guidelines, or procedures used by the governmental agencies to address the processing and treatment of families at the U.S.-Mexico border, the separation of adult family members from minor children, the criminal prosecution of adult family members, and efforts to reunify families. Requests were filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and relevant sub-agencies.

The American Immigration Council and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP filed suit on June 27, 2018 challenging DHS, ICE and CBP’s failure to respond to the FOIA requests.

Since filing suit, the Council has received productions of records exposing DHS’s internal communications regarding the development of public messaging around family separation. The documents indicate that the agency sought to portray family separation as an effort to combat human smuggling and trafficking. The documents also reveal that the agency explored other methods for punishing parents who had already entered the country.

Other records reveal that Homeland Security Investigations, ICE’s investigative wing, monitored protest preparations across the United States and internationally in June 2018, as communities organized to oppose family separation policies.

The Council and partners continue to pursue documents responsive to the FOIA request and will update this page if additional documents are produced

Most Read

  • Publications
  • Blog Posts
  • Past:
  • Trending