In this week’s FOIA round-up, a federal judge ruled that Trump transition team emails are not subject to release, documents reveal years of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid tactics, and a recently released report showed federal agents feared riots by migrants who were being held in overcrowded and unsanitary cells. Meanwhile, in Montana, the state supreme court ruled that a university player’s privacy rights as a student outweigh the public’s right to know.
And belated happy birthday to FOIA, signed 53 years ago this week by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966.
See a great use of public records we missed? Send over your favorite FOIA stories via email, on Twitter, or on Facebook, and maybe we will include them in the next roundup. And if you’d like even more inspiration, read past roundups.
Judge rules Trump’s transition team emails are not subject to release under FOIA
Earlier, The Democracy Forward Foundation had sued the General Service Administration under FOIA for access to the Trump’s transition team’s emails - including Mike Pence, Chris Christie, Jeff Sessions, and Trump’s adult children. This week, federal judge Amit Mehta ruled that the transparency group cannot have access to the emails.
Read the full story on CNN here.
Documents show that ICE officials are creating arrest target lists for mass raids to meet specific quotas
The Intercept reports on how documents released Wednesday show ICE tactics during raid operations and how officials are building arrest target lists. The majority of the documents relate to a cancelled September 2017 ICE operation called “Operation Mega” that was meant to target 8,400 noncitizens, but the records also include information on five other ICE operations with similar objectives, which shows how the agency recycles its logistical plans.
ICE originally did not respond to the FOIA requests related to “Operation Mega.” After litigation, the immigrant rights group Mijente obtained thousands of pages of documents over the last year, which they recently released as Trump announces a mass immigration raid.
Department of Homeland Security documents reveal that migrants at an El Paso detention centers have been held in unsanitary conditions
Andrew Free, a MuckRock user, obtained documents from DHS that show that inspectors who visited a site in El Paso on May 7th found more than half of the 756 immigrants being held at the facility were kept outside, and those inside were held in cells packed at five times their capacity.
The documents revealed that Border Patrol agents “remained armed in the holding areas because of their concerns with the overcrowding that potentially could result in volatile situations.”
Montana Supreme Court ruled 4-3 to protect student’s privacy and deny public records request
The Montana Supreme Court found that “the former University of Montana player’s privacy rights as a student outweighed the public’s right to know what actions state Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian took in his case,” according to the Associated Press.
Author Jon Krakauer’s wanted to figure out why the state’s top higher education official intervened to prevent a star college quarterback’s expulsion over a rape accusation. Justice Laurie McKinnon, who wrote the majority opinion, faulted Krakauer for how we worded his pubic records request, saying he should have asked for more general information about sexual assault complaints and appeals instead of about a particular student.
Image by Andrea Hanks via White House Flickr