IRLI Sues USCIS for Refusing to Provide Emails with ‘Abolish ICE’ Founder

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November 27, 2023

Radical activist had successfully lobbied ICE to keep criminal alien in the country

WASHINGTON—The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a lawsuit in federal district court against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), seeking to compel the agency to produce emails with a radical anti-borders activist.

In August 2021, Tucker Carlson revealed emails showing that officials at the highest levels of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had kept an illegal alien with multiple criminal convictions in the country at the personal behest of extremist Tania Mattos, who is a founding member of a group called the Abolish ICE NY NJ Coalition, dedicated to terminating funding for the nation’s primary immigration enforcement agency. 

In May of 2022, seeking to uncover what direction Mattos might have given to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) other main immigration agency, IRLI submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to USCIS for any email communications Mattos had with their employees. 

Under FOIA, an agency is supposed to determine whether and to what extent it will comply with a request and provide relevant public records within twenty working days. However, roughly a year and a half after IRLI’s request was submitted, USCIS had still produced nothing in response to IRLI’s request. Accordingly, IRLI filed suit to compel production of the requested information.

“This administration has proven to be extremely reluctant to allow any sunshine on the relationship between its agencies and the radical illegal immigration advocates who appear to have great influence over agency decisions,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “The American people have a right to know who is running their government, especially if it is members of shadowy groups with radical agendas for the country.”  

“When ICE fails to provide government records this basic, one can’t help but wonder whether it is trying to cover up a clear conflict of interest – or something worse,” said Matt O’Brien, IRLI’s director of investigations. “Is this a case of Biden Administration senior executives at DHS improperly and unlawfully allowing anti-borders radicals to set immigration enforcement policies?”

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