Victory! Judge Sides with IRLI in Pursuit of ‘Abolish ICE’ Founders’ Emails

Investigative Reports |Press Releases

May 31, 2024

Why is USCIS hiding correspondence with radical anti-borders activist?

WASHINGTON – The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has achieved a victory in its attempt to obtain United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) emails with radical “Abolish ICE” founder Tania Mattos.

In February, the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the District of Columbia, a component of DOJ, acting as counsel for USCIS, filed a motion claiming IRLI’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, filed to compel production of the USCIS-Mattos emails, did not “reasonably describe” the records IRLI seeks and should therefore be dismissed.

IRLI contested the USAO’s motion. And the judge hearing the matter has ruled in favor of IRLI, refusing to dismiss the case. IRLI may now continue seeking an order compelling USCIS to produce the requested records.

“This is a great day for transparency in government,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “For too long the current administration has been allowing radical anti-borders activists to influence federal immigration policy. At the same time they have been trying to hide the details of their communications with these activists. We need to apply sunlight to these discussions and find out exactly who is making critical government decisions that affect us all.”

According to Matt O’Brien, IRLI’s director of investigations, “This ruling represents a significant victory for IRLI. USCIS appears to have adopted a policy of refusing to provide any information in response to FOIA requests – despite the fact that the FOIA statute clearly requires the government to be fully transparent whenever possible. The USAO attempted to defend USCIS’s flawed policy and the judge saw through the agency’s specious arguments.”

The case is Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) v. USCIS, No. 23-cv-3429 (D.D.C.).

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