CREW received a response from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement stating that they were withholding all records due to the open status of ongoing law enforcement investigations.
The public deserves to know more details about ICE and CBP involvement in policing protesters gathered in opposition to racial injustice following Minneapolis Police officers killing George Floyd, an unarmed black man. Given reports of police using excessive force on protesters, DHS’s lack of transparency in who exactly they are targeting and what procedures they are following is a threat to protesters’ safety.
While ICE and CBP officials have told news outlets that officials would not carry out immigration enforcement at protests, it’s unclear how agents will suspend immigration enforcement and if officers will face any penalty for failing to do so. Additionally, CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan’s tweet on “radicals & agitators” indicates an alarming level of vagueness around who exactly DHS will target, and reflects language Attorney General Bill Barr and Trump have used in reference to protesters as so-called domestic terrorists.
CREW requested expedited records on any protocols in place that explain suspensions or limitations of immigration activity at protests and, if such protocols exist, any repercussions officers will face in failing to adhere to those procedures. CREW also requested documents that define who exactly comprise the “radicals & agitators” that Morgan tweeted about. Finally, CREW requested documents that would explain how DHS got involved in policing the protests in the first place.
Following Trump’s deployment of officers from multiple branches of the government to violently suppress peaceful protesters, the public deserves to know what police accountability measures exist. Trump’s retaliation against people who oppose him politically has long manifested in ways that might seem more obscure to the public, like firing objective Inspectors General and using Barr to intervene in the criminal cases of his cronies. Now Trump’s actions pose a direct threat to the public, and we deserve accountability.