"Syracuse, N.Y. — On April 20 the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) appealed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) concerning its response to TRAC's April 25, 2011 request
under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for anonymous
alien-by-alien data covering all individuals against whom the Department
of Homeland Security had filed charges in Immigration Court.
After nearly a year on April 12, 2012 TRAC finally received a response dated April 5
from FOIA Officer Catrina M. Pavlik-Keenan in which she declined to
provide any records. The rationale given was that the agency "cannot
reliably identify" cases it has filed or has pending before the
Immigration Courts. Rather than releasing what it claimed would be
incomplete data the agency refused to release any information.
If truthful, the statement that ICE is unable to keep track of what
cases it has filed in the Immigration Courts is an astounding admission,
and one suggesting serious managerial problems within the agency.
Clearly, the public has a strong interest in determining the extent to
which the agency may have lost track of the cases it has filed in the
While it may be embarrassing for the agency to release records
documenting how often it loses track of such cases, the inability to
identify all court cases does not provide any legal justification for
withholding those records which can be located.
Among the items of information being withheld are information on the
location and nature of the original arrest that led to ICE custody, the
DHS program — secure communities, project streamline, criminal alien
program, etc. — responsible, specifics of any crimes (if any) committed
by the individual, the age, current legal status and family ties, as
well as the basis for ICE's claim that the Immigration Court should
order the individual deported."