October 11, 2023
Raises question of whether the White House hiding legal advisor’s radical past
WASHINGTON—The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a lawsuit in federal district court against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), seeking to compel the agency to produce emails from its Principal Legal Advisor (PLA), Kerry Doyle, first requested in April under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The Office of Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) serves as ICE’s prosecutor in the immigration courts and is mandated by law to zealously advocate for its client, the American people, to enforce our immigration laws by removing people who have no legal right to be in this country.
However, before being appointed PLA in September 2021, Ms. Doyle spent much of her career as a legal and political advocate for anti-borders policies that undermine the very prosecutions her office is charged with enforcing. Her activist work included publicly testifying in favor of sanctuary legislation in Massachusetts, condemning the 287(g) program that helps state and local law enforcement to cooperate with ICE, and filing multiple lawsuits against ICE.
Seeking to find out how Ms. Doyle might have brought her extreme views and prior advocacy to her new job, in April, IRLI sent a FOIA request to ICE for her emails regarding removals and prosecutorial discretion.
IRLI’s request was limited to searching only for the emails of one person in the agency on two narrow topics and should have been easy to quickly satisfy. Under FOIA, an agency must determine whether and to what extent it will comply with a request and provide relevant public records within twenty working days. However, more than four months later, ICE has still not responded to IRLI’s request. Accordingly, IRLI filed suit to compel production of the requested documents.
“It is no surprise that this administration is stonewalling requests for transparency,” said Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s executive director and general counsel. “Ms. Doyle is one of many anti-borders activists employed by this White House. Given her radical past, she is the last person who should be trusted with the job of Principal Legal Advisor at ICE, and the American people have a right to know why.”
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