Judicial Watch Defeats Homeland Security Efforts to Hide Illegal Immigrant Records

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) failed to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from Judicial Watch seeking records involving DHS’s suspension of some illegal immigrant deportations.

“This ruling shows the Obama administration is willing to go to any extent--including gaming the courts--to continue stonewalling the full story of its lawless release of illegal aliens,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Now, with the prison floodgates being thrown open to illegal aliens under the phony pretense of abiding by sequester cuts, it is more important than ever that Obama’s hand be revealed. We’re pleased the Court would not allow DHS to continue its contempt for FOIA law.”

In an opinion issued by the Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the Court made it clear that DHS’s argument that it withheld documents in the name of “attorney-client” and attorney “work-product” privileges was invalid: 

[E]ach of these documents appears to concern nothing more than the implementation of an agency policy, the withholding of which runs counter to the [DC] Circuit’s [earlier] admonition that a government attorney’s ‘advice on political, strategic, or policy issues [is] not…shielded from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege.'

Judicial Watch’s efforts to uncover documents related to DHS’s suspending of illegal immigrant deportations takes on even greater importance in the wake of the Obama Administration’s recent jail release of 2,000 illegal immigrants awaiting possible deportation. Citing sequestration cuts, the DHS reportedly plans to release another 3,000 illegal immigrants from jail over the next several weeks.

"We're doing our very best to minimize the impacts of sequester, but there's only so much I can do," said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. "You know, I'm supposed to have 34,000 detention beds for immigration. How do I pay for those?"

Prior Judicial Watch investigations uncovered deportation dismissals involving illegal immigrants who had committed felonies.  In one instance, Bolivian national Carlos Martinelly-Montano, who had committed prior crimes, killed a Virginia nun and injured two others while driving drunk awaiting his deportation hearing.


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