Appeals Court Decides U.S. May Withhold Names of Noncitizens Released From Immigration Jails

An immigration detainee stands near a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) grievance box in the high security unit at the Theo Lacy Facility, a county jail that also houses immigration detainees arrested by ICE, March 14, 2017 in Orange, California. (Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

A federal appeals court decided Wednesday that the identities of noncitizens released by the federal government from immigration jails in 2013 may be withheld from the public.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that disclosing the detainees’ names would amount to an “unwarranted invasion” of their personal privacy and possibly jeopardize their safety.

“The detainees would be publicly identified as unauthorized immigrants who had previously been held in government detention, a status which carries with it the potential for stigma, harassment, discrimination, illegal detention, and even violence,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a President Carter appointee, wrote for the court.

The Obama administration released more than 2,000 immigration detainees to save money at a time when the federal government was facing major budget cutbacks.

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