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More ICE FOIA Follies: From Minimalism to Maximalism, A Path Forward

August 08, 2023 (1 min read)

Andrew Free, Aug. 4, 2023

"... As fun as the idea of FOIA lawsuits might be for requestors in the abstract, the reality of suing ICE and DHS FOIA agencies in federal court is often painful, slow, and demeaning. That’s by design. We learned this week in response to an August 2020 request that DHS FOIA professional Bradley E. White apparently instructed DHS FOIA officials in 2019 to delay or slow production FOIA suits if compliance would “strain” their office. Telling agency FOIA officials to “push back” on AUSAs where production schedules in litigation would put a strain on the agency FOIA office is certainly one approach to reading the statute. Unfortunately for the requesting public, DHS FOIA’s White doesn’t actually apply any limiting principle to this advice. It’s unmoored from the plain language of the FOIA statute, and leaves no real yardstick by which to measure strain. Like, of course you didn’t want to be sued. Of course you’re being forced to do something. That’s because you didn’t do it before you got sued. That’s the point of the lawsuit. Telling the Department of Justice you still won’t do the thing you got sued for not doing because it’s inconvenient without even attempting to connect that “push back” to any legal standard is the sort of thinking that gets you sued in the first place. ..." #DetentionKills