Information on Immigrants Deported in Raid Is Heavily Censored and Vastly Incomplete

After a statewide immigration raid in December netted 95 arrests -- eight of whom were supposedly in Broward -- New Times submitted a request to the federal government under the Freedom of Information Act for the records containing any biographical information about those arrested in Broward or Palm Beach counties.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) responded to the request last week. We expected the details to be hazy, but the records provided are surprisingly incomplete.

Although ICE initially said that the arrests included eight in Broward County and 13 in Palm Beach, they provided biographical data for only four people, two born in Haiti and two born in the Bahamas.

Furthermore, while some of those arrested in the raid had apparently committed only nonviolent crimes (such as drug possession or robbery), the four people detailed in the response all have violent previous criminal offenses, including sex assault and cruelty toward a child, homicide-negligent manslaughter, kidnapping, and aggravated assault.

New Times provided ICE with a series of detailed questions about each of the detainees, as follows:

first, middle and last names,
dates of birth,
known employment history,
previous criminal offenses,
residential addresses when arrested,
known or suspected gang or criminal affiliations,
place of birth or foreign residence.

type of warrant used for the arrest
probable cause for arrest
place, date and time arrested, including whether indoors or outdoors
what subject was doing when encountered by authorities
agencies conducting arrest, including parties to joint task forces
names of officers conducting arrest.

Besides providing information on only four of the reported 21 detainees from Broward and Palm Beach counties, ICE heavily redacted, or blacked out, much of the factual information about the detainees, including their names, dates of birth, identification numbers, addresses, gang affiliations, and names of the arresting officers.

All four were served with an I-205 Warrant of Deportation and were sent to Oakdale, Louisiana. All were scheduled to be flown to Haiti as a final destination (even the two who were born in the Bahamas). The ICE practice of deporting undocumented immigrants to Haiti, a country lacking effective law enforcement or infrastructure, has come under increased scrutiny lately after the death of Wildrick Guerrier, a deported Haitian immigrant.

ICE provided an explanation for the redactions, as required by law. They were made for information including law enforcement data or personnel or medical files, "the release of which would cause a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy" that would "outweigh any minimal public interest in disclosure of the information."

Here is the entirety of the information sent to New Times:
ICE FOIA Response 3-10-11

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