MALDEF

CT Commission Ruling Prevents Anti-Immigrant Activists from Endangering Immigrants

Anti-immigrant groups often claim that their activities do not threaten the safety of immigrants. Whether they like it or not, however, these groups’ agendas may be exploited by those wishing to carry out violence against immigrants.

The Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission (CT FOIC) recently delivered a 3-1 ruling that held that the names, addresses, and photos of those enrolled in a local residency card program may not be released to the public. In its decision, the Commission cited potential violence directed towards immigrants participating in the program.

Key facts that led to the ruling included threatening e-mails and testimony from police officers who asserted that releasing the information would endanger certain cardholders. The state Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chief and others testified in support of such an exemption. Connecticut’s Assistant State’s Attorney noted the high number of threats against immigrants:
"This was not one threat, two threats. The volume of threats... There were numerous e-mails and phone calls saying we will target these people, hunt them down and will essentially rid New Haven of these illegal immigrants."1
The requests for the information were made by the "Community Watchdog Project" (CWP) and an individual acting in his own capacity. Dustin Gold, the head of the CWP, received legal advice from the Center for Immigration Studies and its legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute.2  Groups such as these often claim that their agenda does not endanger immigrants. This recent decision from the CT FOIC, however, suggests otherwise.

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1. Mary E. O’Leary, “FOI upholds ruling on resident card secrecy,” The New Haven Register, July 10 2008, available at: http://www.nhregister.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19842106&BRD= 1281&PAG=461&dept_id=635049&rfi=6
2. Id.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund