Washington, DC – Yesterday, a U.S. District Court in Connecticut approved a settlement in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit challenging the refusal of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release tens of thousands of documents about the Criminal Alien Program (CAP), one of the agency’s largest enforcement programs. CAP currently is active in all state and federal prisons, as well as more than 300 local jails throughout the country and is implicated in approximately half of all deportation proceedings. Although CAP supposedly targets the worst criminal offenders, the program also appears to target individuals with little or no criminal history for deportation and to incentivize pretextual stops and racial profiling.
Although CAP facilitates the removal of hundreds of thousands of individuals each year, very little information about the program is available to the public. To better understand CAP, the American Immigration Council (AIC), in collaboration with the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic of Yale Law School and the Connecticut chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), filed a FOIA lawsuit to compel ICE to disclose information about CAP.
Under the terms of the settlement, ICE has agreed to produce numerous previously-withheld records, which AIC will synthesize and analyze, including:
- A report of all encounters by ICE officials with individuals under the auspices of the CAP program from 2010 to the present, including dozens of discrete data fields for each encounter;
- Policies and other guidance regarding the implementation and operation of CAP, including interviewing procedures and arrest quotas;
- Records regarding the relationship between CAP and other ICE programs such as Secure Communities; and
- Policies regarding racial profiling in the course of CAP activities.