Los Angeles Times Sues Federal Government, Seeking Records on Abuse in ICE Detention Facilities

On December 1st, 2020, the Los Angeles Times confirmed that the organization has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in an effort to seek records and information from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) claim was filed after a recent investigative report revealed allegations of abuse at immigration detention centers. Below, our Los Angeles immigration lawyer provides an overview of the lawsuit and the allegations raised against the federal agency.

Allegations: LA Times Investigation Uncovered Abuses

Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Times published an investigative report that uncovered hundreds of allegations of abuse from immigrant detainees in California. The report found that few of these allegations led to criminal charges or any other type of formal sanction. Further, investigators concluded that ICE demonstrated a lack of accountability within immigration detention facilities.

As an example, the LA Times investigated the disturbing story of a 38-year-old man who was sexually assaulted in his cell by another man. Although he repeatedly reported the matter to employees at the ICE-run facility, the agency failed to take any corrective action. Instead, the witness—a fellow cellmate—was deported. Soon after, prosecutors declined to bring any charges due to supposed “lack of evidence.” Unfortunately, this horrific case is not unique. The Los Angeles Times found that police departments received several hundred phone calls reporting abuse within California’s federally operated immigration detention facilities.

Lawsuit: ICE Should Provide Information to the Public

An informed citizenry is a critically important part of a well functioning democracy. Individuals are entitled to information from their government. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) helps to ensure that members of the public can get access to unreleased information controlled by government agencies. The Los Angeles Times has filed a FOIA lawsuit seeking documents and records held by ICE. Specifically, the news organization is seeking any documents or information that is relevant to the alleged sexual abuse and sexual harassment that detainees have endured at California’s immigration detention facilities.

Notably, the lawsuit is focused on California’s four privately run immigration detention centers. There have long been allegations that detainees within these facilities—many of whom have never been charged with a crime—are receiving substandard care. California lawmakers banned private prisons in the state last year. However, the ban will not take full effect until the current private immigration detention center contracts signed by the federal government expire. As of now, all private immigration prisons will be closed in California in 2028.

Call Our Los Angeles, CA Immigration Attorney for Immediate Legal Help

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our California immigration lawyer strives to provide the highest level of professional representation to immigrants and their families. We have experience with the entire range of immigration law matters. You deserve representation from a top immigration attorney. Call us now for a completely confidential review of your case. Our law firm represents clients in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California.