JW Files Lawsuit against DHS for Documents on Reforms to 287(g) Illegal Immigration Enforcement Program
SEPTEMBER 28, 2009
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to obtain documents regarding the government’s decision to “reform” 287(g), a federal program that trains local law enforcement officers in illegal immigration enforcement techniques. In July, the DHS announced changes to 287(g), which many believe undermine the program, after DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano ordered a complete review of all border and illegal immigration policies.
Judicial Watch filed its original FOIA request on July 20. DHS acknowledged receipt of the request on July 30 and granted itself extra time to process the request. However, DHS has not abided by its own extended deadline and has not provided Judicial Watch with a date certain when it will provide responsive documents or demonstrate that responsive records are exempt from production. By law, DHS had 20 days to respond to the request. Among the documents sought by Judicial Watch:
- The new standardized Memorandum of Agreement used to enter into 287(g) partnerships, as announced by Secretary Napolitano on July 10, 2009, as well as any documents containing information on the development of the agreement;
- All new 287(g) agreements entered into with law enforcement agencies;
- All documents concerning the decision to standardize the Memorandum of Agreement and/or create new 287(g) agreements;
- Media and congressional notification plans concerning 287(g);
- And all email correspondence concerning the new 287(g) agreement between Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Border Security “Czar” Alan Bersin, and White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Cecilia Munoz, among other government officials.
The 287(g) program has been credited by local law enforcement officers for helping to reduce crime rates. At least 67 local law enforcement agencies currently take advantage of the program, up from 27 in 2006. Nonetheless, government officials seem intent on weakening the program.
“At a time when local law enforcement agencies are reducing crime with 287(g), why has the Obama administration decided to undermine this program? The vast majority of Americans want federal immigration laws enforced. Local law enforcement officers can contribute to this process and they have every legal right to do so. I suspect that 287 (g) is under attack because Obama appointees have an ‘amnesty’ agenda at odds with enforcing the law. No wonder Judicial Watch can’t get any documents,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.