UCI Law Files Suit For Border Patrol Records

The ACLU and the UCI School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic recently filed a suit against the United States Department of Homeland Security as well as the Border Patrol last Tuesday, asking for their records on roving patrols at the America’s southern border.

The lawsuit originated from an unanswered request dating back to July when ACLU and faculty members from the UC Irvine Immigrant Rights Clinic submitted a request for information on the patrols under the Freedom of Information Act. The request for information was met with silence.

The ACLU and UCI School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic indicated that the they want to see records regarding the practice of roving patrols. This practice conducts searches in which agents halt and detain people and vehicles as far as 100 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.

The San Diego and Southern California chapters of ACLU and the UCI School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic filed the suit in a California federal court, asking for the court to instruct the agencies to release the data.

ACLU and UC Irvine requested that the agencies release information about the number of stops conducted, procedures as to how the stops are done and the number of complaints filed by people who were stopped. The requested information regards the San Diego and El Centro sectors of the patrol.

According to ACLU, federal law allows the Border Patrol to make arrests and seizures within a specific distance of the border. Legal regulations have defined that distance to be 100 miles from land or sea borders.

However, previous reviews by the ACLU of roving patrol data show that only one percent of stops yielded deportable immigrants. The reviews also included information that numerous stops violated basic arrest guidelines and stemmed from racial profiling, rather than routine checking procedures.

Attorneys from ACLU have reported that Border Patrol agents have stopped residents in Fallbrook and Laguna Beach, 70 and 90 miles respectively north of the Mexican border.