December 7, 2017 -
A non-profit group of lawyers is suing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency in federal court for failing to release records of its use of mobile biometric devices in immigration raids and joint operations with local law enforcement, Law360 reports.
National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild represent immigrants involved in deportation proceedings, and has asked the court to force ICE and the Department of Homeland Security to disclose information about handheld devices, which can reportedly identify individuals in seconds by transmitting fingerprints and photos to biometric databases.
The lawyers say that ICE and the DHS have ignored requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and for which the deadline to comply passed months ago, and wrote in the complaint that “(d)isclosure of the requested information will shed light on aspects of processes of ICE and other agencies that are unknown to the public.”
They also say that accountability and oversight issues are raised by the recent increase in ICE raids.
The lawyers say they received an automated response from the ICE FOIA office, and another invoking a 10-day extension, but that a request to the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties was due to be met May 3, and the response from ICE was due June 21, according to the suit.
In July, the Electronic Privacy Information Center sued Customs and Border Patrol in July for information about its use of biometrics at U.S. borders.