Guardian, ACLU seek ICE records

FOI request goes after details of immigration raids
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The Bay Guardian, the ACLU of Northern California and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights have filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking documents related the recent immigration raids in California.

The detailed request asks for a long list of documents explaining “Operation Return to Sender,” an Immigration Customs and Enforcement crackdown that had led to 13,000 arrests nationwide.

“Some of the abusive practices reported extensively in the press include: illegal entries and searches by ICE agents, misidentification of ICE agents as member of local police forces, inappropriate tactics related to children including conducting round-ups near schools and leaving minor children unattended upon their parents’ arrest, ethnic profiling, violations of due process and abusive treatment,” an ACLU press release notes.

“When the Mayor of Richmond describes the ICE raids as imposing a ‘state of terror’ and parents are afraid to send their children to school, civil rights organizations must investigate possible civil rights violations,” said Julia Harumi Mass, staff attorney of the ACLU-NC. “The first step is to see all the records regarding the planning and implementation of Operation Return to Sender in northern California.”

The Guardian has worked with the ACLU in the past on federal FOIA requests, most recently seeking information about clandestine Pentagon spying on local peace groups.

Below is the press release:

ACLU Seeks Records on Immigration Enforcement Actions
in Northern California

Groups Investigate Possible Civil Rights Violations

SAN FRANCISCO – The ACLU of Northern California, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today seeking records reutf8g to recent enforcement actions conducted by U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). The ACLU-NC has requested expedited processing because of the urgency of this issue to members of several northern California communities.

The ACLU-NC is seeking documents regarding the recent ICE actions undertaken as part of “Operation Return to Sender” in Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, San Benito, San Francisco, and Fresno counties to name a few. Operation Return to Sender was launched in May 2006 and has led to the arrest of at least 13,000 people nationwide.

Some of the abusive practices reported extensively in the press include: illegal entries and searches by ICE agents, misidentification of ICE agents as member of local police forces, inappropriate tactics related to children including conducting round-ups near schools and leaving minor children unattended upon their parents’ arrest, ethnic profiling, violations of due process and abusive treatment.

“When the Mayor of Richmond describes the ICE raids as imposing a ‘state of terror’ and parents are afraid to send their children to school, civil rights organizations must investigate possible civil rights violations,” said Julia Harumi Mass, staff attorney of the ACLU-NC. “The first step is to see all the records regarding the planning and implementation of Operation Return to Sender in northern California.”

The ACLU has reviewed a number of complaints concerning ICE conduct that raise serious concerns about racial profiling and other constitutional violations.