Lawsuit: Federal Government Withholding Records About Immigration Raids that Targeted Women, Children


The federal government has failed to release records under the Freedom of Information Act that would shed light on immigration raids that took more than 100 women and children from their homes and placed them in a Texas detention center before deporting many of them, according to a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Alston & Bird today to obtain the records.

The complaint describes how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency violated the public records law by failing to promptly release documents to the SPLC following a Jan. 7 request. The raids, which were executed without warrants on Jan. 2 and 3, targeted women and children from Central America living in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. Many of the immigrants had been granted permission to remain in the United States, subject to certain conditions.

The raids have been condemned by 146 members of Congress.

The SPLC, which is committed to immigrant justice, believes that during the raids, agents gained entry to the immigrants’ homes by deception. Some said they were police officers looking for a suspect, showing a photo of an African-American man to the residents. Others claimed they only needed to take the immigrants from their homes long enough to examine electronic shackles they wore as part of an agreement with ICE that allowed them to remain in the country.

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