Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI-02) recently stood outside U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) headquarters asking for answers about a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request he submitted.
Pocan claims the request was filed in October 2018 and sought information on the “arrests of 83 individuals in Wisconsin,” who were presumably arrested and deported by ICE.
“More than four months after submitting my request, the agency is clearly using delays as an effort to hide something. While we will not know until the agency provides the information, I have reason to believe that the data on the arrests will show that ICE has targeted immigrants with no prior criminal record to stoke fear in our community,” Pocan said in a recent press release.
According to Pocan, ICE claims it has responded to his request on two occasions, but those responses were allegedly just acknowledgments of his request.
“Despite multiple meetings, letters, a FOIA request, and unannounced visits to the agency’s office, ICE will not provide information regarding communication with local law enforcement officials and information about whether the arrested individuals held criminal records,” he said.
Frustrated with the delay, Pocan recently stood outside ICE’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he distributed “missing” flyers for his FOIA request to employees arriving for work. NowThis News was with Pocan during the stunt and filmed him asking employees if they “work in the FOIA department” while entering the building.
“Hey, there. I was wondering if you could help me out. If you might be able to post this by a coffee machine. We’re missing a FOIA request,” he said to one individual entering the building.
“It’s the first open records request I’ve had to do as a member of Congress. This is part of the ongoing problems we’ve had with an agency that’s gone increasingly rogue under the direction of the Trump administration,” Pocan told NowThis News.
In his press release, Pocan states that his “next step will be to retain counsel and initiate a lawsuit” should ICE “continue to fail to provide this information.”
In another effort to send a message to ICE, Pocan invited Aissa Olivarez, staff attorney for the Community Immigration Law Center, as his guest for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.
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