ACLU of Arizona v. DHS (Tucson Interior Enforcement FOIA)

ACLU of Arizona v. DHS, No.CV-14-2052-TUC-RM-BPV (D. Az., filed April 28, 2014) (Tucson Interior Enforcement FOIA)

In January 2014, the Arizona ACLU and two University of Arizona law professors filed a FOIA request with DHS seeking records related to interior enforcement activities by the Border Patrol’s Tucson and Yuma Sectors (covering all of Arizona and a portion of southeastern California) from 2011 to 2014. The request specified that it included complaints and investigations, apprehension statistics, stop records, policies, and training materials.

DHS failed to respond to the FOIA request, prompting the Plaintiffs to sue in federal court in April 2014.  The government eventually identified at least 10,000 pages of responsive records, but has released only half of those records. Approximately 1,200 pages were withheld in full and the remaining records were heavily redacted; there was no legal justification or explanation for these redactions. CBP subsequently acknowledged the existence of substantially more responsive records, which it has refused to provide.

As of April 2017, litigation is ongoing. On January 26, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued a report and recommendation that the District Court (1) grant in part and deny in part Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, and (2) grant in party and deny in part Plaintiffs’ Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. DHS filed its objection to the report and recommendation on March 15, 2017.

Even the limited records released to date provide troubling insights into Border Patrol’s internal enforcement operations.  In October 2015, the ACLU released a report, Record of Abuse, based on the agency records it obtained, which the ACLU also made available on its website.

Contact: Kathy Brody/ACLU of Arizona/520-344-7857/kbrody@acluaz.org

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