The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in a complaint filed in
a U.S. District Court in Arizona, said the agency has ignored two
requests made in January 2014 seeking information under the Freedom
of Information Act.
The requests sought information on policies, complaints, and vehicle
stops and searches, among other specifics on checkpoints and
so-called roving patrols in the Tucson and Yuma areas. The ACLU,
which has demanded an investigation of checkpoints near the
U.S.-Mexico border, has accused law enforcement officials of abuse
of authority and violations of the constitutional rights of local
"For Border Patrol to be held accountable they have to be
transparent. But the agency consistently refuses to share basic
information with the American people while rights violations are
rampant," ACLU attorney James Lyall said in a statement.
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to
requests for comment.
The lawsuit comes amid a protracted fight over immigration policy in
the United States, which is home to some 11 million undocumented
immigrants. Immigration-reform legislation remains stalled in the
Republican-led House of Representative, leading to an open clash
this month with President Barack Obama.
Obama has directed the Department of Homeland Security to enforce
immigration laws "more humanely," the White House said in March.
The Supreme Court on April 21 declined to revive a provision of
Arizona's controversial 2010 immigration law that made it a criminal
offense to encourage illegal immigrants to enter the state or to
harbor or transport them within Arizona.
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The ACLU has demanded a federal probe into the operations at U.S.
Border Patrol checkpoints in Arizona. Among the alleged abuses cited
in the complaint were extended interrogation and detention unrelated
to determining a person's immigration status, unwarranted searches,
racial profiling, verbal harassment and physical assault.
The ACLU also alleged, in an October complaint, numerous abuses by
border patrol agents on "roving patrols" in southern Arizona. Those
included included unlawful vehicle stops and searches, excessive use
of force, destruction of private property and trespassing, including
one such case that was reported roughly 60 miles north of the
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; editing by Larry King)
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