On August 14, 2015, The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (“RAICES”), Inc. filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) under the Freedom of ...
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On August 14, 2015, The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (“RAICES”), Inc. filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552. The plaintiff is a consortium of immigrant advocacy organizations that represents civil detainees. It sought declaratory and injunctive relief along with reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. The plaintiff claimed that ICE had unjustifiably failed to respond to a request for records within the statutorily mandated timeframe. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that agency records relating to allegations that detention officers employed by the GEO Group sexually abused female asylum-seekers who were detained with their children in the ICE family detention center in Karnes City, Texas. These records contained information about facility’s laundry room, which GEO detention officers allegedly used to sexually assault women in the late night and early morning hours.
An investigation of the substantive allegations had in January 2015 led to a report
by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Office of Inspector General (“OIG”). In that report, OIG explained that it had not uncovered any evidence substantiating the allegations in a review of over 360 hours of time lapsed surveillance video footage. However, according to former detainees, the sexual assaults happened in a “blind spot” in the laundry room where they would not be captured on the security camera. Therefore, the plaintiff submitted a FOIA request for physical and electronic records concerning the laundry room and its associated security camera. At the time of the filing of the complaint, the plaintiff had received no agency records responsive to the request.
On August 14, 2015, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint stating that as of August 14, 2015, ICE’s online FOIA tracking tool indicated that a request for documents had been sent, and that an estimated delivery date of those documents was to be on August 19, 2015. However, there is no note of the documents being delivered on that date or any date thereafter.
On February 22, 2016, Judge James E. Boasberg ordered a joint briefing schedule. Since that date, there have been two orders granting defendant’s consent motion to amend the briefing schedule.
As of May 2, 2016, the deadline for summary judgment motion was set for June 1st, 2016. The case is ongoing.Matt Ramirez - 05/26/2016