ICE Citizens Academy FOIA

At a Glance

Date Filed: 

July 16, 2020

Current Status 

Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed May 11, 2021.

Co-Counsel 

Client(s) 

Case Description 

In July 2020, ICE announced it would be holding a "Citizens Academy" in Chicago, Illinois where civilian invitees would be trained in various enforcement techniques used by the law enforcement agency. The inviation promised attendees would engage “in scenario-based training and exercises conducted in a safe and positive environment, including, but not limited to defensive tactics, firearms familiarization, and targeted arrests." Immigrant rights organizations immediately objected to this program and called for it to be canceled. Soon after, it came to light that other components of the agency had operated simialr "Citizens Academies" in past years, dating back to at least 2012.

Immigrant Defense Project in New York City and Organizing Communities Against Deportations in Chicago, along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, filed a FOIA request to shed light on these programs and get access to training materials and data regarding how ICE runs these "Citizens Academy" programs. When ICE failed to respond, we filed a lawsuit with the help of Beyond Legal Aid to compel the agency to release the documents.

This case is part of the Center for Constitutional Rights' Open Records Project and our larger work on behalf of activists and immigrant rights.

Case Timeline

May 11, 2021
Lawsuit filed
May 11, 2021
Lawsuit filed
We file a FOIA lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois.
July 16, 2020
FOIA request sent to ICE