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ACLU litigation reveals alarming aspects of U.S. immigration

A recent news article offers Florida residents insights into U.S. immigration law. In a written opinion issued on Dec. 30, a federal judge said that the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency's reluctance to comply with court orders to release documents made it look like it was trying to conceal wrongdoing.

The U.S. District Court judge's opinion comes in response to the government's request to extend the deadline for it to furnish the ACLU documents. The court had issued an order in September 2013 that ICE comply with the ACLU's Freedom of Information Act request for documentation regarding the detention of immigrants. The ACLU says it wants to expose the flaws in the U.S. immigration system.

The judge cited a 2004 General Accounting Office report that said that ICE lacked documentation that showed that their decisions regarding immigrant custody were timely and lawful. He also referenced a February 2007 Department of Homeland Security report that said that the agency failed to make a mandatory custody decision in 6 percent of the cases and failed to make a timely decision in 19 percent of the cases. The judge said that ICE's request was an attempt to "move the goalposts" and that it would be better off devoting resources to complying with the court order.

Many families who have had relatives put into detention by ICE have been frustrated by how the agency deals with immigration cases. A lawyer who concentrates on immigration matters may find resources at organizations like the ACLU for dealing with detention. Immigration lawyers may challenge the detention as unlawful if the agency is not making decisions regarding custody in a timely manner.

Source: statesman.com, "Judge scolds government over immigrant documents", Larry Neumeister, December 30, 2013

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