Criminal Alien Program (CAP)
CAP is a massive, nationwide enforcement program administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that identifies removable noncitizens and places them into removal proceedings. CAP is currently active in all state and federal prisons, as well as more than 300 local jails throughout the country. The program is implicated in approximately half of all removal proceedings. Although CAP supposedly focuses on the worst criminal offenders, the program appears to target individuals with little or no criminal history and to incentivize pretextual stops and racial profiling. Despite CAP's role in facilitating the removal of hundreds of thousands of individuals each year, and despite serving as ICE's “bedrock” enforcement initiative, very little information about CAP is available to the public.
Seeking greater transparency, the American Immigration Council (AIC), in collaboration with the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic of Yale Law School and the Connecticut chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), brought a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to compel the release of records that would shed light on the program. Pursuant to a court-approved settlement, ICE must begin producing responsive, non-exempt records by late October 2013.
The LAC and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic of Yale Law School Sue to Compel Release of CAP Records
American Immigration Council, et al., v. DHS, No. 12-00355 (D. Conn. filed Mar. 8, 2012).
Co-Plaintiffs American Immigration Council and AILA’s Connecticut chapter initially sought records related to CAP through a FOIA request to ICE in December 2011. When ICE refused to release records responsive to the request, Plaintiffs filed suit under FOIA for declaratory and injunctive relief to compel the disclosure and release of agency records improperly withheld by DHS and its component ICE. Plaintiffs also challenged Defendant’s failure to grant Plaintiffs’ public interest fee waiver request and asked the court to award costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees and any other appropriate relief.
On July 13, 2012, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment with an accompanying declaration by Jamison Matuszewski, the Unit Chief for CAP within Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) at ICE. In response, Plaintiffs filed an opposition to Defendant’s motion and a cross-motion to defer consideration of Defendant’s summary judgment motion and for limited discovery. Plaintiffs argued discovery was necessary in light of Defendant’s conclusory and largely unsupported claim that DHS lacks the functional capacity “to identify the individuals encountered by CAP and retrieve their records” and to provide a small, randomized sample of individual records without undue burden. Plaintiffs requested discovery in the form of a deposition of Jamison Matuszewski, the Unit Chief for the Criminal Alien Program (CAP). Defendant opposed the discovery request and submitted a reply to Plaintiffs’ opposition to summary judgment with a supplemental declaration by Jamison Matuszewski. In early December, 2012, the court granted Plaintiffs’ motion. The deposition took place on February 1, 2013. On February 5, 2013, the court found Defendant’s motion for summary judgment moot and ordered Defendant to re-file its motion for summary judgment upon completion of the extended discovery.
In conjunction with the preparation of Jamison Matuszewski’s supplemental declaration, Defendant conducted a two-hour search of ICE’s Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). The search resulted in 473 responsive pages, which were released to Plaintiffs on October 19, 2012. 303 pages were released in full. The responsive portions of the remaining pages were withheld pursuant to FOIA exemptions 5, 6, 7(C) and (E).
After settlement discussions, on July 21, 2013, the court entered a Stipulation and Order of Dismissal. The parties agreed that ICE would produce non-exempted records described in Attachment A of Exhibit 1 of the Settlement Agreement. ICE also agreed to produce an electronic report containing all CAP encounters in ICE’s Integrated Decision Support System (“IIDS”) for FY 2010 to the date of the Stipulation, to include the fields identified in Attachment B of Exhibit 1. ICE has indicated since the settlement that it possesses hundreds of thousands of pages of responsive documents and has been producing several hundred pages to the Council each month.
Fact Sheet: The Criminal Alien Program: Immigration Enforcement in Prisons and Jails. This fact sheet, issued August 1, 2013, provides an overview of what currently is known about the CAP program, including valuable insights gained from a deposition of Jamison Matuszewski, the Unit Chief for CAP.
IPC Report: The Criminal Alien Program: Immigration Enforcement in Travis County, Texas. This 2010 report concludes that not only did local law enforcement in Travis County, Texas not understand the purpose or scope of CAP, but that CAP led to racial profiling because the "jail status check" and other aspects of the program encourage some officers to arrest people who look or sound foreign, in order to process them through the CAP and facilitate deportation. The report raises concerns that CAP is not realizing its intended goal – to target dangerous criminals, but is creating a system where local police enforce immigration law by detaining immigrants who have committed only misdemeanors or immigration status-related offences.
ICE Homepage: Criminal Alien Program. This page provides ICE’s explanation of the different components of CAP.
The Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity & Diversity at University of California, Berkeley Law School, The C.A.P. Effect: Racial Profiling in the ICE Criminal Alien Program. This policy brief analyzed arrest data pursuant to an ICE-local partnership in Irving, Texas and found that ICE is not following Congress’ mandate to focus resources on the deportation of immigrants with serious criminal histories. The analysis also revealed strong evidence to support claims that Irving police engaged in racial profiling in order to filter individuals through the CAP screening system.
CAP Advocacy Guide. This guide, issued by the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the Washington Defenders Association, and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, explains how information about the CAP program revealed through the lawsuit can be used to address the impact of the program at the local level.
Hold CBP Accountable
actions taken across the country in an ongoing effort to establish accountability and transparency of one of the fastest growing agencies in the United States.
Administrative Relief Resource Center
Learn how individuals can prepare for administrative relief, find legal assistance and community education resource, and ways that you can help immigrants and immigrant-serving organizations.
- District Court Rules Grant of TPS Is an Admission for Adjustment of Status Purposes
- First Circuit Joins Other Courts in Holding That Immigrants Can Pursue Cases From Outside the United States
- Seventh Circuit Decision Expands Availability of Hardship Waivers to Lawful Permanent Residents
- ICE Agrees to Release Thousands of Previously-Withheld Records
- Court Says ICE Failed to Satisfy FOIA Requirements in Council’s Suit to Compel Disclosure of Records on Access to Counsel
- Eleventh Circuit Holds That Filing Limitations on Motions to Reopen Are Subject to Equitable Tolling
- Visa Bulletin “Do-Over” Undercuts Visa Modernization
- First Step in Visa Modernization: Making the Wait More Palatable
- Five Families Released After Prolonged Detention
- Restrictionists Continue to Attack H-4 Work Authorization
- Government Ordered to Promptly Release Children From Family Detention
- Court Issues Decision in Washtech, Case Challenging Training for U.S.-Educated Noncitizens
- Annual Review of State-Level Immigration Policy Still Trending Pro-Immigrant
- The Government Doubles Down on Locking Up Immigrant Mothers and Children
- Insider Speaks Out Alongside Formerly Detained Mothers Seeking Protection in the U.S.
- Court Finds Federal Officers Can be Sued for Mistreatment of Immigrants in Detention
- Judge’s Order in Flores Should Signal the End of Family Detention
- White House Report on Improving Our Legal Immigration System: Too Little Too Late?
- Some 3-Year Work Permits Being Recalled by USCIS
- Appellate Court Hears Oral Argument in Texas v. United States
- U.S. Settles With 4-Year-Old U.S. Citizen They Wrongfully Deported
- Members of Congress Report on Texas Family Detention Center Visits
- Supreme Court Finds Conviction for Possession of a Sock Was Not a Deportable Offense
- Court Rejects Restrictionists’ Attempts to Derail Work Authorization for H-4 Spouses
- Immigration Appeals Court Reverses Position on Deportation Waivers
- Why DAPA Applications Were Not Accepted by USCIS on May 19, 2015
- Reports: Detention Doesn’t Deter Migrants and Refugees From Coming to United States
- Arpaio Faces Skeptical Judges In Lawsuit Challenging Obama’s Immigration Action
- Supreme Court to Decide Whether It’s Okay to Deprive a Person of His Day In Immigration Court
- No Justice For Family of Mexican Child Killed By U.S. Border Patrol Agent
- The Court Decision on Deferred Action Everyone Should Be Talking About
- Faith Leaders Visit Immigrant Detention Center as Mothers Begin Hunger Strike
- Immigration Agency Issues Long-Awaited Guidance on L-1B Visa Petitions
- Government Claims Children in Family Detention Centers Are Not Entitled to Protections
- Documenting Ongoing Border Patrol Abuses
- Immigration Action Provides Certain H-4 Spouses Work Authorization
- New Immigration Enforcement Policy Remains In Effect Despite Texas Lawsuit
- Supreme Court Hears Argument on Whether Government Must Justify Its Visa Denial
- The Detention of Children and Their Families is Still Unjust and Still Against the Law
- Unrepresented Children Still Being Fast-Tracked Through Immigration Hearings
- When is Possession of a Sock a Deportable Offense?
- U.S. Education of Foreign Students is Under Attack
- Do the President’s New Immigration Policies Really Mark the End of Secure Communities?
- How New Guidance Improves a Waiver Program to Limit Family Separations
- Five Things to Know About Deportation Relief for Some Immigrant Parents
- How Many Immigrants Could Be Eligible for Relief and Not Know It?
- Civil Rights Complaint Documents Government’s Failure to Properly Screen Asylum Seekers
- Third Federal Court Rejects Government Interpretation of ‘Admission’ into U.S.
- How USCIS Tried to Keep Out a Skilled Brazilian Steakhouse Worker
- How Can a Three Year Old Represent Himself in Court?
- Report Discloses Deportation of Central American Asylum Seekers
- Federal Court Refuses to Dismiss Case of U.S. Citizen Girl Who Was Deported
- Inspector General Falls Short in Documenting Border Detention Conditions
- Why Groups Are Suing the Government over Rushed Deportation Process for Mothers and Children
- Courts Continue to Reject Arizona Style Laws, Even as House Embraces SAFE Act
- Here Are Some of the Stories of Women Held at Artesia
- Why We are Suing the Government on Behalf of All Children Facing Deportation
- District Court Decides Some TPS Beneficiaries May Finally Become Lawful Permanent Residents
- SCOTUS Decides Immigrants Can “Age-Out” of Visa Petitions
- The DACA Renewal Process: Everything You Need to Know
- CBP Releases Report Critical of Agency, Issues Updated Use of Force Policy
- Summary Removal Procedures and Their Role in Rising Deportations
- New Data Show More Than Half a Million Immigrants Granted DACA
- Drop in Court-Ordered Deportations Means Little to Overall Deportation Numbers
- USCIS Releases Information About DACA Renewal Process
- Circuit Court Ruling Affirms Detainers Not Mandatory
- New Directive Clarifies Existing Use of Force Policy at CBP
- Customs and Border Protection Conceals Scathing Audit of Border Patrol’s Use of Force Policy
- What the DACA Renewal Process Should Look Like
- Petition Challenges DHS on Enforcement Priorities
- The Washington Post Exposes Sorry State of Immigration Courts
- Miranda-like Warning for Immigrants Argued in Ninth Circuit
- Why Is There a Disparity in DACA Application Rates Among Different Nationalities?
- Supreme Court Considers Restrictive Interpretation of Child Status Protection Act
- The Punishment Should Fit the Crime for Immigrants, Too
- Keeping CBP In Line With Proposed Reforms
- Understanding DACA's Education Requirement
- Supreme Court to Interpret Child Status Protection Act
- New York City Pilots Free Legal Representation in Immigration Court