Sunday, May 19, 2013

New FOIA Lawsuits


"from Matter of C.B.

I decided it was time to push back against the slow poke or nonresponsive replies to my requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act.  Sam Niiro and I are now filing pro se lawsuits.  Sam is just finishing his first year as a Northwestern undergraduate.  And many thanks to attorney R. Andrew Free who is taking over after we file them!

Complaint Against the Executive Office of Immigration Review
The first complaint, filed in April, was to obtain the case docket for "Matter of C.B." an August 15, 2012 Board of Immigration decision that, pathetically, had to be written in order to tell a Department of Justice attorney that respondents really do have a right to an attorney.   I requested the hearing history because I wanted to know how long it took someone locked up to have this due process right affirmed.  The coercion of detention pressures so many people to abandon their legal claims to residence and I wanted to document what this wait looks like.  

I had received precisely this information in response to a previous FOIA request, with the respondents' names redacted. But this time around the geniuses at the DOJ said they did not maintain this information.  (The problem is not terminology because I used the exact same language on both requests, as my complaint points out.)

Finally, please note in this decision and all BIA decisions the gross flaunting of the rule of law the EOIR perpetuates when it hides the names of the immigration judges, another symptom of the kangaroo court mentality among the folks who run that agency.  In exchange for the great power judges have they must submit their decisions to public scrutiny.  But of course kangaroo courts can provide this discretion and cloak these DOJ attorneys in the hangman's garb of anonymity.

Complaint Against the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General
The second complaint, filed a couple weeks ago, is on behalf of a woman who in 2011 was falsely imprisoned, kidnapped, and robbed by DHS employees when she was returning from Nigeria.  The Office of the Inspector General conducted an investigation that resulted in her being returned to the United States at government expense but the OIG is not releasing the underlying investigation results that led to this decision.   I'll be posting more details on her situation shortly.

EOIR, MaryBeth Keller email
Next up is the email to and from EOIR attorney MaryBeth Keller about the coverup that she participated in pertaining to the investigation of my own misconduct complaint against William Cassidy, the Atlanta immigration court attorney who deported U.S. citizen Mark Lyttle and then illegally failed to allow us to observe hearings, ordered me removed from the building, and then lied about it.

Ironically, Keller, point person for misconduct investigations, herself failed to comply with the FOIA law for over a year.  The EOIR is not among the components that consider employee FOIA responses in their performance reviews, something that needs to change.  Keller is the EOIR official who sucks up the misconduct complaints against the immigration judges and then, in violation of the statutes, helps her  colleagues sweep them under the rug.  There are statutes that require her to forward these complaints to the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility or Office of Inspector General but last time I checked she and the rest of her colleagues were regularly violating these statutes.

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