A federal judge ordered the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to disclose the names of thousands of criminal immigrants released because their homelands refused to take them back, handing the news media a rare victory against one of the most secretive agencies in the federal government, the Boston Globe reports. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, ruling in a lawsuit filed by the Globe, rejected the Obama administration's argument that providing the newspaper with the names of criminals freed since 2008 would violate the immigrants' privacy.
The judge ordered the agency to make public the first comprehensive list of criminal immigrants released in the U.S. since a crucial Supreme Court decision in 2001. “The public has an interest in knowing how [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] handles aliens convicted of crimes who are required to be released,” the judge wrotem noting that some of the released offenders go on to commit new violent crimes. The decision comes nearly two years after the Globe initially requested the names through a Freedom of Information Act request with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.