cloudy
Friday July 3rd, 2015 3:58AM

ACLU urges judge to force release of immigration documents

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union has urged a federal judge to force the U.S. government to quickly turn over documents it needs to help reform a system in which thousands of immigrants are detained for months or years.

The ACLU told U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman in a letter on Thursday that the government should be forced to follow his orders so the public can see if immigrants are subject to "prolonged" detention as their immigration statuses are reviewed.

The judge had asked for the ACLU's opinion a day after government lawyers insisted they needed 15 months to deliver 385 out of 22,000 files.

The ACLU called the government's request for a conference with the judge "a last-minute attempt by the defendants to avoid their obligations" under the judge's orders and the Freedom of Information Act.

The ACLU sued in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in 2011 seeking from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement documents it had requested two years earlier.

ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project staff attorney Michael Tan called the delay in the government response to the FOIA request "appalling." He said the ACLU hadn't received one file since the judge ordered the government to turn over in September documents both sides agreed would provide a representative sample of the detainee cases.

Tan said efforts to negotiate an agreement with the government on how many files are representative were especially difficult, with the government saying it would take seven more years to produce 100 files.

The slow pace caused the judge last week to say in an order that the government's process for releasing documents was "painstaking and riddled with further delay." He said it had stymied efforts to reform a system in which thousands of immigrant detainees, some applicants for asylum, languish in immigration jails longer than six months.

In 2009, The Associated Press conducted a computer analysis of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement database obtained through a FOIA request, finding there were 32,000 immigrants from 177 countries detained, including more than 18,000 with no criminal convictions. The analysis showed that nearly 10,000 had been in custody more than a month and that 400 of those with no criminal records had been locked up more than a year.

According to a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, detained immigrants are supposed to be deported or released within about six months.

The steady increase in the number of immigrants held behind bars grew considerably after Congress in 1996 passed a pair of laws requiring immigrants who committed crimes be locked up for deportation. The numbers continued to rise after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Feds announce test sites for drone aircraft
The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.
2:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Congress letting 55 tax breaks expire at year end
In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty - once again - for millions of individuals and businesses.
2:21PM ( 1 year ago )
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
Federal report: Polar bears in peril due to global warming
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Polar bears are at risk of dying off if humans don't reverse the trend of global warming, a blunt U.S. government report filed Thursday said."The single most important step fo...
8:25PM ( 7 hours ago )
The Latest on train derailment: 5,000 evacuated in Tennessee
MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — 6 p.m.An official in eastern Tennessee says smoke has stopped rising from the site where a CSX train car derailed and caught fire, forcing the evacuation of thousands of reside...
6:05PM ( 9 hours ago )
Obama draws sharp contrasts with 'mean' Republicans
LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — Wading into presidential politics, President Barack Obama on Thursday promoted his brand of middle-class economics by drawing sharp contrasts with "mean" Republicans in a state...
5:36PM ( 10 hours ago )
Jim Webb, Iraq war critic in Senate, running for president
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jim Webb, a decorated Vietnam veteran and accomplished novelist who became a fierce critic of the Iraq war in the Senate, announced Thursday that he's challenging Hillary Rodham Clin...
5:08PM ( 10 hours ago )
Top Republican doubts Senate will confirm ambassador to Cuba
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that his chamber is unlikely to approve an American ambassador to Cuba, dishing out a quick rebuff to President Barack Obama and...
4:28PM ( 11 hours ago )