LatinaLista — Janet Napolitano may be the new head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) but recent actions emanating from DHS are proving that old habits die hard.
First, there was the worksite raid in Washington that Secretary Napolitano didn’t authorize and now is seeking a review .
Now comes accusations that DHS isn’t cooperating with a University of Texas law professor who has been requesting documents about the border fence.
DHS’ refusal to release the documents has spurred a lawsuit filed by a non-profit organization founded by none other than — Ralph Nader.
Public Citizen has filed a lawsuit against DHS on behalf of Professor Denise Gilman who requested documents to find out the exact location of where the border fence will be completed.
For an unknown reason, the DHS isn’t complying.
Denise Gilman, a clinical law professor at UT, submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in April for records that would show where the fence would be built, including maps, surveys and appraisals of affected properties. She also requested information about the criteria for deciding where segments of the wall would be built and agency assessments of the impact of the wall on surrounding communities.
Almost a year later, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have not complied with Gilman’s request. Despite initial indications that the agencies possessed volumes of records responsive to Gilman’s request, the corps of engineers denied part of her request outright and released only a few documents with substantial redactions. DHS referred her entire request to CBP, which released a mere two redacted documents in December. On Jan. 30, CBP told Gilman that it was still processing her request despite a federal requirement that it respond to her April request within 20 days.
While Sec. Napolitano reviews how immigration policies are enforced, it looks like she will also have to take her staff to task for behaving like it’s 2008.
In an administration that prides itself on transparency and accountability, the behavior of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and DHS staff are giving a black eye to an administration with a promising start.
Sec. Napolitano should demand immediate compliance and haul in those people who still feel they answer to no one but a bygone administration.