April 29, 2010, Washington D.C. – Today a six-page internal memo from United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was leaked to the press. The memo contains ICE’s media strategy in response to rights groups’ “Uncovering the Truth on ICE and Police Collaboration” campaign—a week long effort of rallies and press conferences in 14 cities to denounce an ICE-police collaboration program that rights groups say have dangerous and disastrous effects on community safety, similar to what led to the human rights crisis in Arizona. The week of advocacy was launched on Tuesday in conjunction with a FOIA lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Immigration Justice Clinic of Benjamin Cardozo School of Law to demand records relating to the Secure Communities program.
“ICE’s unbelievable offensive against activists organizing for truth and accountability must be challenged,” said CCR attorney Sunita Patel. “Rather than sticking to the promise of transparency, the Obama administration is hiding behind misinformation and attacking civil society. The quest for answers is even more compelling and begs the question: what is ICE hiding?”
The memo included the targeted placement of opinion-editorials in “major newspapers in the right cities where protests are planned.” On the day of the launch, ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton placed opinion-editorials in Atlanta, Georgia; Miami, Florida; and Morristown, New Jersey—all sites of the campaign.
Said Sarahi Uribe, NDLON organizer and national coordinator of the “Uncover the Truth” campaign: “It is deeply disturbing that ICE responded to our simple request for truth and accountability with an aggressive strategy for spin and deception. At a time when its clear that the federal government’s irresponsibility gave rise to the crisis in Arizona, rights groups now feel under attack for demanding basic answers from our government.”