- The Washington Times - Friday, October 3, 2014

Government watchdog Judicial Watch said it’s filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, accusing the agency of stonewalling and failing to provide records on 36,000 criminal illegal immigrants who were released from government detention.

The illegals were released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in 2013. Judicial Watch said it requested information pertaining to the cases months ago, but didn’t receive a reply by the deadline.

So the group launched a lawsuit, announced this week.

Specifically, Judicial Watch wanted all communications “to or from personnel in the office of the principal deputy assistant secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement” between the dates of May 1 and May 15. The requested information was aimed at understanding why ICE freed 36,007 criminal aliens who were awaiting deportation proceedings — aliens who had committed the likes of homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault, Judicial Watch said in a statement.

“How many Americans will be killed, maimed or victimized by the Obama administration’s release of aliens convicted of violent crimes? Under President Obama, the Department of Homeland Security has turned from a law enforcement agency into one that undermines and violates our nation’s immigrate laws in a way that threatens the public safety,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, in a written statement. “And now Homeland Security is in cover-up mode and violating federal law to keep documents about its mass release of criminals away from the American people.”

Judicial Watch formally filed the suit in July, but only announced it this Thursday.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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