U.S. prosecutors in New York say they can't meet a judge's demands that they quickly deliver documents about thousands of immigrants who've been detained nationwide for months or years as their immigration statuses are reviewed, reports the Associated Press. The office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara laid out the government's position to U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman in a letter made public Wednesday, days after the judge criticized the government, saying it had been on notice since the ACLU requested the documents nearly five years ago.
The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in Manhattan federal court in 2011 seeking details on detained immigrants. The ACLU questioned the practice of “prolonged immigration detention — for months, if not years — without adequate procedures in place to determine whether their detention is justified.” It cited a dramatic increase in the number of immigration detainees in recent decades. In 2009, an AP investigation found there were 32,000 immigrants from 177 countries detained, including more than 18,000 with no criminal convictions.