[govinfo] GovInfo News 11-30-06

  • From: "Patrice McDermott" <pmcdermott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "FOI-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <FOI-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 15:07:15 -0500

- Federal Court Favors Cox In Fight For Records

Patrice McDermott, Director
202-332-OPEN (6736)


Cox News Service
Thursday, November 23, 2006
WASHINGTON - A federal court of appeals ruled Tuesday that a lower court erred 
in dismissing a case that sought records under the Freedom of Information Act 
about illegal immigrant convicts who are not deported as required by law.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered the 
trial court to settle factual disputes between Cox Newspapers and the Justice 
Department over the privacy rights of illegal immigrants convicted of a crime. 
At the heart of the case is whether those privacy rights outweigh the public's 
right to know that they have been released into the community.
The department's lawyers have argued that it has turned over some of the 
information requested by Cox under the Freedom of Information Act filed three 
years ago.

The department gave Cox information about illegal immigrants, including the 
convict's native country; date taken into custody; and date of release, 
according to the legal documents.

But personally identifiable information such as full names, dates of birth, 
alien 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.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon issued a summary judgment in favor of the 
Justice Department on Sept. 27, 2005. In that decision, Leon wrote that the 
privacy interest of convicted illegal immigrants "far outweighs" the public 
interest that might be served from disclosing the information.

Some immigration groups have supported the Justice Department's position.

Benjamin Johnson, director of the Immigration Policy Center, an immigrant 
advocacy group, said the public has the right to know the dysfunctions of the 
immigration system and how it may be failing. But, that does not mean it should 
release personal information because immigration officials make mistakes and 
deport the wrong people, he said.

Other immigrant groups disagree, saying it is "outrageous" to hold back the 
personal information of illegal immigrants who are convicted of a crime.

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  • » [govinfo] GovInfo News 11-30-06