EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Twenty-one migrants are suing the federal government for accidentally posting their private information on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website.
The five-hour leak last November exposed the names, nationalities, location and other personal information of more than 6,000 migrants held in detention facilities nationwide. ICE said the leak was unintentional and occurred as an employee updated an Excel program spreadsheet.
Some of the 21 migrants who filed a lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia have been released from custody in Texas (El Paso Service Processing Center), Georgia (Stewart Detention Center), Arizona (Eloy Detention Center) and Colorado (Aurora Detention Centers). Others remain in ICE detention.
Their lawyers and immigration advocates said the leak places at risk of harm individuals from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia, Jamaica and France, some of whom were fleeing persecution or torture.
They are asking for a one-year stay of removal from the country, re-adjudication of their cases, accommodation, and $15,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. The lawsuit also requests reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act.
The San Diego law firm of Morrison Urena L.C. representing them is also requesting the court to certify the case as a class action lawsuit under Rule 23(b)(2).
The lawsuit names Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Acting ICE Director Tae D. Johnson, and an unknown ICE employee as defendants.