Judge raps US government over immigration documents

US flagA federal judge this week questioned whether or not the United States government is trying to obscure or hide information by again failing to provide information to a civil rights group about the detention of thousands of immigrants for long periods of time.

The written decision by US District Judge Richard Berman came just days following the insistence of government attorneys that they are in need of more time to be able to comply with the order he gave back in September to grant the Freedom of Information Act request made by the American Civil Liberties Union.  The Union says that it intends to expose a massively flawed system that sees thousands of immigrants kept locked up for lengthy periods while adjudication to determine their eligibility to remain in the United States drags on.

Berman wrote that the US government “continues, quite obviously, to drag its heels in providing disclosure about immigrant detentions.  Hopefully, it is not also trying to hide or obscure a distressing system or set of facts.”  He also noted a 2004 report made by the US General Accounting Office that there is a lack of information from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services regarding its ability to give assurances that it undertakes timely reviews of the detention of immigrants and provides custody determinations that are consistent with the law.

Berman went on to say that there is a “troubling pattern” of the government attempting to move the goal posts and giving a decidedly loose interpretation of his order for them to turn over the documents.