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Case Name American Civil Liberties Union of Maine Foundation v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security IM-ME-0002
Docket / Court 2:18-cv-00182-JDL ( D. Me. )
Additional Docket(s) 2:18-cv-00176-JDL  [ 18-176 ]  District of ME (U.S.)
State/Territory Maine
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Trump Administration FOIA cases
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
This is one of a pair of lawsuits filed by state affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), each relating to two separate Freedom of Information Act requests seeking agency records on immigration enforcement practices in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. (The other case is ... read more >
This is one of a pair of lawsuits filed by state affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), each relating to two separate Freedom of Information Act requests seeking agency records on immigration enforcement practices in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. (The other case is IM-ME-0001, American Civil Liberties Union of Maine Foundation v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security.) Both cases were brought in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine; the ACLU sought declaratory and injunctive relief—specifically, the release of documents responsive to each request—as well as attorneys' fees and costs. This action was filed on May 8, 2018 against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its component agencies U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). (The other had been filed seven days prior and did not include ICE as a defendant.) Both cases were partially coordinated and assigned to District Judge John D. Levy.

The ACLU sent the FOIA request that triggered this case on September 5, 2017 amid reports of substantially increased raids, arrests, and searches by federal immigration authorities in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. The request asked for records pertaining to each agency's immigration enforcement practices in the three states, including its communications with local businesses and law enforcement. Two weeks later, according to the ACLU's complaint, DHS delivered its "final response" that contained only one page of data and only responded to arrests made by ICE; the ACLU alleged that DHS failed to search CBP records or otherwise respond to any of the other items of the request, in violation of its legal duties under FOIA. The complaint also said that DHS acknowledged receiving the ACLU's subsequent appeal in February 2018, but failed to issue a notification within 20 days indicating whether it would comply, again in violation of FOIA.

DHS filed its answer on June 18, 2018. It acknowledged receiving the ACLU's September 5 request, but otherwise effectively denied the remaining allegations.

On July 5, 2018, Magistrate Judge John H. Rich III granted the parties' joint motion, in which DHS said that it was in the process of searching for possible additional responsive documents, subject to later status report to be filed by August 17. That report indicated that the defendants had agreed to identify and produce additional responsive documents according to search parameters jointly drafted by the parties. A November 2018 status report indicated the parties were unable to agree on a production schedule. Judge Levy granted that request and set a schedule, which had to be amended several times.

Finally, on October 11, 2019, plaintiffs submitted a status briefing with a proposed scheduling to adjudicate the issue of several redacted materials. Four days later, the court set the schedule telling plaintiffs to submit a brief as to why they were entitled to the redacted material by December 16, 2019. Following this, the defendants were to submit a brief in response by January 10, 2020. The plaintiffs would then have a chance to reply to that response by January 24, 2020. This schedule proved difficult to maintain and was altered a few times, so ultimately the plaintiffs submitted their first brief by December 20, defendants responded on February 5, 2020, and the plaintiffs replied two weeks later.

On July 6, 2020, the court issued its order regarding the redacted materials. Judge Levy ordered some of the contested documents to be unredacted, but most of the documents he found were covered by Exemption 7(E) of FOIA. This exemption protects information that might reveal law enforcement tactics which are not known to the general public. The court ordered that the defendants release any of the unprotected information by July 20, 2020. 2020 WL 3643126.

The case is ongoing as of July 9, 2020.

Jake Parker - 06/19/2018
Alexander Walling - 08/22/2018
Virginia Weeks - 11/17/2018
Jack Hibbard - 07/09/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Records Disclosure
Search policies
Transportation
Immigration/Border
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 05/08/2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-ME-0001 : American Civil Liberties Union of Maine Foundation v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D. Me.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
2:18-cv-182 (D. Me.)
IM-ME-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/06/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief for Violation of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 et seq. [ECF# 1]
IM-ME-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/08/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Decision and Order on Objection to Public Record Redactions Pursuant to FOIA [ECF# 58] (2020 WL 3643126) (D. Me.)
IM-ME-0002-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/06/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Levy, Jon David (State Supreme Court, D. Me.) show/hide docs
IM-ME-0002-9000
Rich, John H. III Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-ME-0002-0002 | IM-ME-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bissonnette, Gilles R (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
IM-ME-0002-0001 | IM-ME-0002-9000
Bond, Emma E. (Maine) show/hide docs
IM-ME-0002-0001 | IM-ME-0002-9000
Ernst, Lia (Vermont) show/hide docs
IM-ME-0002-0001 | IM-ME-0002-9000
Heiden, Zachary L. (Maine) show/hide docs
IM-ME-0002-0001 | IM-ME-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Concannon, James D. (Maine) show/hide docs
IM-ME-0002-9000
Lizotte, Andrew K. (Maine) show/hide docs
IM-ME-0002-9000

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