Attorney General Becerra Files FOIA Request Seeking Answers About Trump Administration’s Immigration Enforcement Practices
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seeking information about the confusing array of federal immigration enforcement practices under the Trump Administration. Attorney General Becerra is part of a coalition of nine states and Washington, DC seeking this Administration’s policies and other records that will shed more light on:
- The mixed messages the Trump Administration has sent regarding enforcement against individuals granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the initiative providing temporary documentation to young immigrants known as Dreamers;
- Whether immigration enforcement has occurred at schools, hospitals and places of worship, which the Trump Administration says remain protected as “sensitive locations,” and to what extent it has increased at courthouses and worksites, where enforcement appears to be on the rise; and
- The Trump Administration’s return to the controversial “Secure Communities” program, under which it appears to be issuing detainers to local police and sheriff departments and requesting that they unconstitutionally hold individuals beyond their ordinary release, regardless of whether the individual is convicted of a crime.
“Mixed messages from the Trump Administration on immigration enforcement are sowing confusion and increasing anxiety among immigrants,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today we ask the Administration to tell us what it is doing in this area. It’s a simple request that will go a long way towards helping inform California’s residents about how policies have actually changed, and how changes affect their rights. I will continue to protect the people of our state.”
Since President Trump took office, immigration-related arrests have increased by nearly 40 percent over the previous year. Young people who arrived in the U.S. as children and were granted deferred action status have been arrested or deported. And the Administration has doubled down on constitutionally defective immigration detainer practices that have erroneously ensnared US citizens.
“The President’s Executive Orders, and the steps taken by the Department of Homeland Security to implement those orders, have generated new fears and uncertainties in immigrant communities across the country. Families are afraid to send their children to school. People are avoiding necessary medical treatment. Victims and witnesses are not reporting crimes or cooperating with state and local law enforcement. As the attorneys general of our respective states, we believe the ‘chilling effect’ of these new policies undercuts public health, safety, and welfare,” wrote the attorneys general in the request.
“Accurate information on the numbers of and bases for detentions, deportations, and detainer requests, as well as actions taken upon those requests, has not been made available to our states or to the general public,” wrote the attorneys general. “To the contrary, we have learned that the Department of Homeland Security has reduced the amount of information it makes available about detentions, detainer requests, and deportations, at the same time it is significantly increasing its efforts to detain and deport, and to issue detainer requests concerning, residents of our states.”
Specifically, the request was sent to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, all of which are part of DHS.
A copy of the FOIA request is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.