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Advancement Project National Office Sues DHS and ICE for Failing to Provide Records Under FOIA

Washington D.C. – Today March 20, 2019, Advancement Project National Office sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for failing to provide records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), involving the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office and ICE collaboration in several Northern Virginia jurisdictions. In partnership with Tenants and Workers United, a Northern Virginia-based organization that builds power in low-income immigrant communities, Advancement Project National Office seeks information about the racist creation of the VOICE Office, an anti-immigrant hotline that exists solely to propagate the Administration’s xenophobic narrative criminalizing immigrants.

The directive came from President Trump’s 2017 Interior Enforcement Executive Order to create the VOICE Office as another weapon in the Administration’s arsenal—to push incendiary rhetoric and scapegoat immigrants. Little is known about the VOICE Office other than it exists as an anti-immigrant hotline that provides an outlet for further maligning immigrants and stoke unwarranted fear in communities.

“We want to shed light on this sinister propaganda office funded by our tax dollars,” said Losmin Jiménez, Project Director and Senior Attorney, Advancement Project National Office. “We demand to know more about the VOICE Office’s activities, and we cannot wait to share with the public what we find. For 20 years, Advancement Projected has advocated for civil and human rights and we are not backing down now. We reject the politics of ‘othering’ and will continue to fight for the dream of ‘belonging.’”

Evelin Urrutia, Executive Director, TWU stated, “Immigrant communities in Northern Virginia are being targeted, harassed, and harmed by the ongoing racist national rhetoric. We are disturbed by our local government’s ongoing collaboration with ICE— a partnership that is devastating our already over-policed communities in Alexandria, Arlington and all over Northern Virginia.”

The full complaint is available here.

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Advancement Project National Office is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.

Tenants and Workers United builds power in low-income, immigrant communities of color to improve the quality of our lives in Northern Virginia. We organize and support people to be agents of change in their own lives by addressing the issues they care about.

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