Skip to main content

District of Columbia v. ICE, No. 18-2410, 2020 WL 2527207 (D.D.C. May 18, 2020) (Chutkan, J.)


District of Columbia v. ICE, No. 18-2410, 2020 WL 2527207 (D.D.C. May 18, 2020) (Chutkan, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning twelve arrests and certain ICE policies, including those on enforcement actions and racial or ethnic profiling

Disposition:  Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment

  • Exemptions 6 & 7(C):  First, the court notes that "the parties agree the information was compiled for law enforcement purposes . . . , so the court need only analyze whether ICE properly invoked Exemption 7(C) to withhold the arrestees' names."  Second, the court relates that "[t]he D.C. Circuit applies a categorical rule under Exemption 7(C) . . . which permits an agency to 'withhold information identifying private citizens mentioned in law enforcement records, unless disclosure is "necessary in order to confirm or refute compelling evidence that the agency is engaged in illegal activity."'"  The court finds that "[t]he question here is whether [the] categorical rule permitting an agency to withhold information identifying private citizens in law enforcement records allows ICE to redact the arrestees' names and other information from the documents it produced."  The court finds that "the D.C. Circuit has held that people involved in law enforcement investigations – including suspects – have a privacy interest in the non-disclosure of their names and identifying information."  The court relates that "[plaintiff] contends that obtaining the names will permit it to 'monitor and investigate public records pertaining to the arrests,' and that it would monitor 'processing of the arrestees by the agencies and courts responsible for immigration policy.'"  "But it does not articulate how this monitoring would show that ICE's original arrest involved any impropriety."  Finally, the court finds that "[plaintiff] cannot show a prior disclosure that overcomes the arrestees' privacy interests."  "The parties agree that the arrestees' names have not been released or associated with the ICE enforcement operation."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 6
Exemption 7(C)
Updated June 11, 2020