ACLU v. DHS - Ninth Circuit


January 10, 2019

The American Immigration Council and the Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program and Boston University School of Law filed an amicus brief in ACLU v. DHS, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In ACLU v. DHS, the ACLU asks the Court to affirm the district court decision permitting the release of names of DHS officers who are the subject of child abuse complaints. The ACLU argues that because the public interests outweigh the privacy interests of the officers, the agencies should release the names of the officials.

The amicus brief was submitted in to assist the Court in understanding the culture of abuse and impunity within U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and the inadequate oversight mechanisms that have allowed this culture to take root. Abuses perpetrated by CBP officials against adults and children are widespread and have included the withholding of food and water, physical abuse, and the deaths of both adults and children. Vulnerable victims such as children face significant challenges in reporting abuses. Even when a complaint is made, a confusing and labyrinthine complaint system prevents transparency regarding investigations into allegations of abuse. The public has learned through reporting and other FOIA requests that investigations generally are not conducted or are incomplete and, in most cases, no action is taken against individual officials. CBP’s pattern of misconduct and its inadequate oversight system makes the release of names of CBP officials even more urgent.

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