The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights and the ACLU of Georgia filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to force U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to disclose information on the immigration-related actions of Georgia's law enforcement agencies.
"We are trying to obtain the files we requested through the Freedom of Information Act, which would give us a clearer picture about the level of involvement of local agencies in Georgia with immigration authorities," ACLU attorney Azadeh Shahshahani told Efe.
ICE and its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, have ignored the earlier request for documents.
"(B)y withholding the records, ICE is preventing the shining of much-needed light on the extent of the collaboration between this agency and local police in Georgia," Shahshahani said.
The plaintiffs contend the ICE files would enable them to determine the truth of allegations that Georgia's state and local police are engaging in racial profiling and other abuses in the context of immigration enforcement.
Georgia's harsh HB 87 immigration law and the ICE programs 287(g) and Secure Communities authorize law enforcement personnel to verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally.
An ACLU report earlier this year documented complaints from undocumented migrants about racial profiling in Georgia's Gwinnett and Cobb counties.
"Throughout the state of Georgia we are organizing to keep racial profiling out of our communities and we want to be informed about the programs that we see contributing to it," the executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Adelina Nicholls, said.
"We shouldn't have to sue for transparency but if the Department of Homeland Security and ICE refuse to honor the law, we will do what it takes to shine a light on what is happening in Georgia," she said in a statement.