It’s been about three months since D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine asked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for information about the 12 people arrested during by ICE agents in Columbia Heights this summer.
Short of an email acknowledging Racine’s request for informaton, ICE has been tight lipped.
Today, Racine filed a lawsuit alleging that ICE violated the Freedom of Information Act and asking a judge to force ICE to release information about the individuals. Racine is asking for the names of those detained, justification for their arrests, their criminal histories, and ICE’s policies on arrests, detention, and racial profiling.
Racine spokesperson Robert Marus also says it’s unknown whether these individuals are still incarcerated, where they might be held, and the status of their cases.
“We are very concerned that District residents may have been racially profiled and unfairly targeted during ICE raids in the city this summer,” Racine writes in an emailed statement.
ICE spokesperson Justine M. Whelan did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, but has said previously that ICE does not conduct raids or indiscriminately target people. We’ll update this post if we hear back from ICE.
In July, ICE confirmed that 12 D.C. residents, along with 120 others in Virginia, were arrested as part of the agency’s so-called “Operation Eagle’s Shield,” according to a news release.
The release described in vague terms that the arrests between July 9 and July 20 netted multiple sex offenders and a suspected member of the notorious MS-13 gang, among others.
Hundreds gathered in July in Columbia Heights to protest ICE’s enforcement actions in a neighborhood with a large Latinx population.
The Central American Resource Center also hosted a workshop instructing individuals on what they should do if and when they encounter ICE agents.
And last week, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton called for a hearing in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, after she says she received no response to questions about the arrests from acting ICE director Ronald Vitiello.
“Our immigrant neighbors should not have to live in fear of law enforcement,” Racine’s statement says. “District residents deserve to know the facts regarding the ICE raids.”