Cell site simulator usage (DHS, ICE, CBP) (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

Tanvi Misra filed this request with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the United States of America.
Multi Request Cell site simulator usage (DHS, ICE, CBP)
Due April 28, 2022
Est. Completion None
Awaiting Response


From: Tanvi Misra

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

1) Any policy directives, guidance, documents, memoranda, training materials, or similar records created between 2019 and 2022 concerning use of cell site simulators by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection agents, employees, or partners, including any policy or guidance document that cites Department of Homeland Security Policy Directive 047-02 (“Department Policy Regarding Use of Cell- Site Simulator Technology”) as well as any communications with Congress concerning implementation of or updates to DHS Policy Directive 047-02 and other policies governing cell site simulator use;

2. Any records reflecting use of cell site simulators by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations for the enforcement of civil immigration law between 2013 and 2022, or any documents that dictate how DHS Policy Directive 047-02 applies to uses of cell site simulators in civil enforcement situations;

3. From Jan 1, 2019 to the present, annual records reflecting the total number of times a cell site simulator has been deployed in the jurisdiction of each field office, the numbers of deployments at the request of other agencies, and the number of times the technology is deployed in emergency circumstances (collection of this information is required by DHS Policy Directive 047-02);

4. All applications submitted to state and federal courts since January 1, 2019 for orders or search warrants authorizing the use of cell site simulators in ICE and CBP investigations or operations (including investigations or operations as part of task forces or partnerships with other agencies), as well as any warrants or orders, denials of warrants or orders, and returns of warrants associated with those applications. If any responsive records are sealed, please provide the date, court, and docket number for each sealed document;

5. All requests to persons or offices within the Department of Homeland Security for supervisory or legal authorization to deploy cell site simulators.

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request records between 2019 and 2022 on Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection’s usage of “stingray” or TK technology.


In 2020, The American Civil Liberties Union published more than a thousand pages of record obtained through FOIA from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about their purchase and use of “Stingrays” — also known as “cell site simulators” or “IMSI catchers” — which is technology used to track and locate cell phones.

The ACLU initially submitted its FOIA request to ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in 2017, after the Detroit News reported on a case where ICE used a cell site simulator to locate and arrest an individual on immigration-related charges. Among other things, the documents revealed that that ICE used cell site simulators at least 466 times between 2017 to 2019. This requests seeks updated information on ICE’s use of stingray technology.

Department of Homeland Security issued guidance (Policy Directive 047-02) regarding the use of cell site simulator technology on October 19, 2015; and updated the guidance on August 31, 2017.

I request this information in the public interest in my capacity as an investigative journalist working with journalism nonprofit Type Investigations and with previous articles published in The Guardian, NBC News, The Article, Bloomberg, The New Republic and other major national and international publications.

I attest that the requested documents will be made available to the general public, and and this request is not being made for commercial purposes. Should the volume of the records be significant, I request that you release them on a rolling basis.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.


Tanvi Misra

From: Department of Homeland Security

Dear Tanvi Misra,
The status of your ICE FOIA request #'2022-ICFO-15677' has been updated to the following status 'Received'. To log into the Department of Homeland Security PAL click on the Application URL below.
Department of Homeland Security

From: Department of Homeland Security

Dear Tanvi Misra,
Your request has been received by the Department of Homeland Security. The request has been assigned tracking # '2022-ICFO-15677', please log into your account and review your submission.
The application address is https://foiarequest.dhs.gov/.
Thank you,
Department of Homeland Security

From: Department of Homeland Security

May 11, 2022 Tanvi Misra MuckRock News DEPT MR 126990 411A Highland Ave Somerville, Massachusetts 02144-2516 RE:     ICE FOIA Case Number 2022-ICFO-15677 Dear Misra: This acknowledges receipt of your April 13, 2022, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), for records pertaining to ICE's use of cell site simulators.  Your request was received in this office on May 11, 2022. PLEASENOTE: Requesters seekingresponsive records from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) areencouraged to create a DHS FOIA Public Access Link (PAL) accountat: . Creating a PALaccount will allow you to directly submit your FOIA request to ICE and trackthe status of your request. In PAL, you can view your prior PAL submissions,sent correspondences, and responsive records. Although PAL is preferred, ICEFOIA will continue to accept FOIA requests via email at (https://foiarequest.dhs.gov/) https://foiarequest.dhs.gov or via regularmail at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Freedom ofInformation Act Office, 500 12 ICE-FOIA@ice.dhs.gov th St. SW, STOP 5009, Washington,DC 20536-5009. Due to the increasing number of FOIA requests received by this office, we may encounter some delay in processing your request. Per Section 5.5(a) of the DHS FOIA regulations, 6 C.F.R. Part 5, ICE processes FOIA requests according to their order of receipt. Although ICE’s goal is to respond within 20 business days of receipt of your request, the FOIA does permit a 10-day extension of this time period. As your request seeks numerous documents that will necessitate a thorough and wide-ranging search, ICE will invoke a 10-day extension for your request, as allowed by Title 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B). If you care to narrow the scope of your request, please contact our office. We will make every effort to comply with your request in a timely manner. Provisions of the FOIA allow us to recover part of the cost of complying with your request.  We shall charge you for records in accordance with the DHS Interim FOIA regulations, as they apply to media requesters.  As a media requester, you will be charged 10 cents per page for duplication; the first 100 pages are free.  We will construe the submission of your request as an agreement to pay up to $25.00. You will be contacted before any further fees are accrued. We have queried the appropriate program offices within ICE for responsive records. If any responsive records are located, they will be reviewed for determination of releasability. Please be assured that one of the processors in our office will respond to your request as expeditiously as possible. We appreciate your patience as we proceed with your request.
Your request has been assigned reference number 2022-ICFO-15677. Please refer to this identifier in any future correspondence. To check the status of an ICE FOIA/PA request, please visit . Please note that to check the status of a request, you must enter the 2022-ICFO-15677 tracking number. If you need any further assistance or would like to discuss any aspect of your request, please contact the FOIA office. You may send an e-mail to ice-foia@ice.dhs.gov, call toll free (866) 633-1182, or you may contact our FOIA Public Liaison, Marcus Francis, in the same manner. Additionally, you have a right to right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) which mediates disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. If you are requesting access to your own records (which is considered a Privacy Act request), you should know that OGIS does not have the authority to handle requests made under the Privacy Act of 1974. You may contact OGIS as follows: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road-OGIS, College Park, Maryland 20740-6001, e-mail at ogis@nara.gov; telephone at 202-741-5770; toll free at 1-877-684-6448; or facsimile at 202-741-5769. (http://www.dhs.gov/foia-status) http://www.dhs.gov/foia-status

Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Freedom of Information Act Office
500 12th Street, S.W., Stop 5009
Washington, D.C. 20536-5009
Telephone: 1-866-633-1182
Visit our FOIA website at www.ice.gov/foia

From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Upon review of your request, ICE has determined that this office has previously received this request from you. The previous request was assigned FOIA Number 2022-ICFO-15677.


There are no files associated with this request.