US Government: We're Not Gonna Tell You!
WASHINGTON — A federal court of appeals will hear arguments today in a case that has broad implications in the debate over illegal immigration and the public’s right to know about illegal immigrant convicts who have not been deported, as required by law.Another shining example of the deportation joke.
Cox Newspapers is asserting that the Justice Department should release the names, birth dates and identity numbers of illegal immigrants who have served prison time for serious crimes, including child molestation, manslaughter, drug dealing and drunken driving.
Cox, which publishes the Austin American-Statesman, hopes to use the data to show how many illegal immigrant convicts are slipping back into communities undetected rather than being deported to their native countries, as federal law requires. Cox revealed in a published report four years ago that hundreds of felons in Georgia were never picked up by immigration officials after serving their sentences.
The U.S. Justice Department says it has turned over some of the information requested by Cox under the Freedom of Information Act, which requires federal agencies to disclose government records to the public. The department gave Cox information about the convicts’ native countries, dates they were taken into custody and dates of release, according to legal briefs filed in federal court.
But the release of personal information such as full names, dates of birth, immigrant registration numbers and FBI numbers would invade the privacy of convicted illegal immigrants and serve no public interest, Justice Department lawyers wrote in legal briefs.
The case is important because it raises the question of whether illegal immigrants should be granted the same privacy protections that citizens and legal residents have. Legal experts also say it illustrates how the federal government resists complying with disclosure requirements when it has embarrassing statistics to hide.
H/T immigration watchdog
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