October 8, 2010
ICE Doesn't Want to be TRAC'd
The Obama Administration has been under heavy fire for ignoring border security, and manipulating border and immigration enforcement to avoid deporting illegal immigrants, using any plausible excuse, even to the point of assigning a team of attorneys at DHS to contrive strategies to circumvent the immigration laws, as described in a leaked memo.
Within the last couple of days, the airwaves have been flooded with appearances by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton, even on the dreaded FoxNews, where they enthusiastically bragged about the record numbers of illegals deported.
TRAC (Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse) at Syracuse University tracks and reports statistics regarding federal enforcement, staffing and spending. Strangely, just as all this DHS and ICE bragging began, data that has always been freely provided to TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act, regarding immigration enforcement activities, has now been refused to them.
As TRAC protests:
The effect of your September 22 letter is to deny the American people information about an important and currently controversial aspect of a key obligation of the federal government: what is it doing and not doing to enforce the nation’s immigration laws.
ICE declined TRAC’s request, pending payment of a new fee for information that has heretofore been provided free-of-charge:
You will be billed for the direct costs of producing this data, in accordance with 6 C.F.R. § 5.11, as well as for the reasonable charges for documents.search. It is estimated that the overall fee to process your request will equal approximately S450,000.00.
Perhaps this is the latest effort of the Obama Administration to provide transparency in government, but if they’re really doing such a great job, like they claim, wouldn’t they want to help spread the word? Or maybe they want the story told only one way – their way.