The Boston Globe recently sued the Department of Homeland Security to get the agency to publicly disclose the names of 8,500 illegal aliens convicted of crimes it has released since 2008.
According to federal officials, those illegal immigrants had been scheduled to be deported but had to be released after serving their criminal sentences because "their home countries would not take them back."
In January, Department of Homeland Security officials "rejected the Globe’s formal request for the names, and again on appeal, saying the immigrants’ right to privacy outweighed the public interest in knowing their identities." Instead, DHS "released only a list of the immigrants’ crimes, and the dates and general area where they were released."
In the last year alone, the Globe says it has filed "more than 20 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the departments of Justice and Homeland Security for a wide variety of information" but have been denied as the agencies have cited "privacy protections."
An Obama administration official told the Globe it discloses more information on released criminals on a "case-by-case" basis when there is a "significant public interest."
The Globe contends the information about the released criminals is a matter of public safety since the victims of those who were released have not been notified.
“It is hard to fathom why the government believes the public must be denied the names of criminals, many dangerous, who are released into society,” said Globe editor Martin Baron. “Who benefits from this policy? An obvious beneficiary is the government itself, which avoids scrutiny and accountability.”
In the Boston Globe's complaint, the newspaper argues that "without access to the names" of the released criminals, it is unclear whether the Department of Homeland Security "is performing its duties lawfully and adequately."
Officials at the DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to comment on the pending lawsuit.