NIPNLG, ACLU, the Immigrant Defense Project, the Post-Deportation Human Rights Project, and Professor Rachel Rosenbloom filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking records related to the federal government’s claims that it facilitates the return of deported individuals who prevail in federal court. Previously, the government informed the Supreme Court in Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418 (2009), that it had such a policy and practice.
After the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security and its sub-agencies failed to produce responsive documents, failed to conduct an adequate search, and/or improperly withheld responsive documents, NIPNLG and the other requestors filed a FOIA lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In response to the FOIA request and subsequent litigation, the government was required to conduct extensive searches and ultimately produced documents showing that its statements to the Supreme Court in Nken regarding the existence of a return policy were inaccurate. As a result of the District Court’s decisions mandating disclosure of this misrepresentation, the government informed the Supreme Court of its error and issued an actual policy for return of deported federal court litigants.
The documents released in NIPNLG v. DHS which contradicted the government’s assertions in Nken led to additional advocacy and litigation and the creation of materials that practitioners can use to help advocate for the return of individual who prevail in their immigration cases from outside the United States: