Names of illegal immigrants withheld, citing privacy rights

“It’s indefensible that criminal illegal aliens are being given privacy rights that arrested U.S. citizens might not receive. The Department of Homeland Security’s FOIA operation has been plagued with interference from Obama administration political appointees, and I am concerned that their involvement may have contributed to the inadequate response to this legitimate request for information.” Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista said in a written statement.

An ICE federal law enforcement agent, left, works with a Escondido Police Department gang enforcement officer, right, at a traffic stop in Escondido on Saturday evening.

Citing privacy rights of illegal immigrants, federal officials have declined to release the names and other information about hundreds of people arrested and deported under a 2-year-old partnership between the Escondido Police Department and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The stance drew sharp criticism from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee.


The program, called Operation Joint Effort, started in May 2010 as a pilot program partnering immigration agents and Escondido police officers to arrest and deport criminal illegal immigrants, according to officials.

Law enforcement officials from both agencies have praised the partnership, saying it has helped rid the city of hundreds of illegal immigrants who had previous criminal convictions or who had been ordered deported by an immigration judge.

Critics, including local immigrant and civil rights groups, have said the program creates distrust between the city’s immigrant community and the Police Department.


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