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Court orders government to release documents from 2016 ICE raid

A federal court today ordered the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to produce records about Operation Border Resolve, the January 2016 immigration raids in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas, during which 121 women and children were detained.

The SPLC filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act within days of the raids. The SPLC filed suit, but the agencies still failed to fully comply, despite U.S. District Judge Charles A Pannell Jr.’s earlier order to produce the documents.

In today’s ruling, Pannell granted a summary judgment in the SPLC’s favor and ordered the agencies to turn over the requested documents within 60 days.

“The court’s decision today will bring much needed attention to the country’s inhumane, and likely illegal, immigration practices,” said Lisa Graybill, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “We believe these raids were unconstitutional, conducted without judicial warrants or probable cause, and the court agreed today that the government has a duty to the public to be transparent about its activities.  

“Releasing these documents is an important first step in shedding much-needed light on immigration enforcement practices, especially the unconstitutional entry into families’ homes and seizure of people legally allowed to be in the United States. We cannot allow ICE, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, to avoid accountability and violate federal law by delaying and withholding government records for years. No government agency is beyond the reach of the public it serves.”