Lawsuit Charges ICE With Non-Disclosure Of Criminal Aliens Under New Administration

 April 28, 2024

The ongoing debate over transparency and immigration has entered the courtroom.

According to Breitbart, The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has initiated legal proceedings against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for failing to reveal the identities of criminal illegal aliens in its communications. This is a direct blow to the Biden administration and they've once again been found guilty on a major national security scale.

The case, lodged at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, scrutinizes ICE’s recent changes to its disclosure policies under President Joe Biden's administration. Historically, ICE shared the names and details of illegal aliens involved in criminal activities openly. Under the previous presidential term led by Donald Trump, nearly 97% of such aliens were named publicly in ICE press releases; however, this rate has declined to 67% with the new administration.

IRLI, a notable immigration watchdog, voiced its concerns after its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request went unanswered. The group had sought insights into ICE’s protocols regarding the decision to withhold or disclose identities of alleged criminal illegal aliens.

Impact Of Reduced Transparency On ICE Reports

Discussing the lawsuit, Dale Wilcox, Executive Director of IRLI, sharply criticized the current administration for its secrecy. "This is yet another shameless attempt by the current administration to hide the disastrous impact of its immigration policies," said Wilcox. Dale Wilcox added that not publicizing these names erases such cases from public scrutiny, obstructing the efforts of groups dedicated to maintaining governmental accountability.

At the core of IRLI’s accusation is the stark reduction in the practice of transparency regarding individuals who have committed crimes and are subject to immigration enforcement. While ICE has not publicly justified its adjusted approach, the shift contributes to broader debates about immigration policy and public safety.

The discussed cases include undocumented individuals from Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and Brazil, who were involved in serious offenses ranging from assault to drug trafficking. Their anonymity in recent press statements marks a significant pivot from previous practices.

Growing Concerns About Public Safety And Policy

Matt O’Brien, Director of Investigations at IRLI, argues that withholding names from press releases is potentially misleading the public about the status of public safety and the effectiveness of ICE's operational strategies.

“ICE’s sudden decision to omit the names of alien offenders from press releases appears to be a deliberate attempt to keep the public from determining whether dangerous foreign criminals have been removed from the United States. That’s rather hypocritical coming from an administration that claims to be the most transparent in the history of the U.S.”

IRLI's unheeded FOIA request sought emails and internal documents elucidating how decisions about privacy and transparency are made within ICE. The request was part of a broader investigation by the institute comparing administrative policies over different presidential terms to assess the impact of these changes on public transparency.


The shift in policy has spurred various reactions within the community of immigration law and policy observers. Experts suggest that such withholding of information can impact public trust and the perceived credibility of the immigration system.

As this case unfolds, it reiterates the ongoing challenge of striking a balance between privacy concerns and the public’s right to information. This lawsuit may prompt further discussion and potential adjustments in how immigration enforcement agencies manage and disseminate sensitive information.

As the legal proceedings gain momentum, they underscore a critical dialogue about transparency, policy, and the intersection of immigration and public accountability. Dale Wilcox’s insistence on the necessity of transparency complements a broader call from various sectors for open governance and clarity in the administration of justice, particularly in matters as divisive and crucial as immigration.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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