Arab-American rights group sues DHS for immigration profiling data

[JURIST] The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) [advocacy website] has filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF; press release] against the US Department of Homeland Security [official website] and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website], claiming the agencies illegally employed information from databases such as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which tracks predominantly Muslim visitors, immigrants, and students to the US. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [DOJ materials], requests information regarding the nationalities, but not the identities, of 237 individuals who were arrested in October 2004 on suspicion of immigration breaches. The ADC alleges that the increase of arrests constituted part of a program known as the "October Plan" during which immigration officials ramped up efforts to arrest Muslims during the period before the 2004 Presidential elections. ICE denies any operation targeting Muslims or any other racial, religious, or political group, explaining that the increased arrests simply point to the policy of increasing security as elections approach.

The lawsuit represents a third attempt over the last two years by the ADC to compel Homeland Security and the ICE to release the information. The New York Times has more.

 

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