HOUSTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas sued the federal government over a raid near Dallas where immigration enforcement officials arrested hundreds of workers.
The lawsuit was a response to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s refusal to release the search warrants associated with the April raid in Allen, which is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northeast of Dallas.
ICE detained 280 workers at CVE Technology Group, which refurbishes and repairs electronics. At the time, ICE said the employees were working in the U.S. illegally.
ICE denied ACLU’s open records request for the search warrants used in the raid, which was one of many high-profile busts of businesses around the country as part of an immigration crackdown under President Donald Trump. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Houston, alleges ICE violated the Freedom of Information Act.
ICE has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. The agency didn’t immediately respond to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s request for comment on the lawsuit.
David Donatti, attorney for the ACLU of Texas, said reviewing the warrants is crucial to ascertaining whether federal authorities violated people’s civil rights in the raid.
“We have serious questions about the way this raid was conducted and whether rights were violated,” Donatti said.
While ICE has plausible reason for denying the ACLU’s records request, it has a legal obligation to explain why, Donatti noted. ICE told ACLU in a letter that it denied the request because releasing the warrants would interfere with ongoing investigations. But Donatti said that reason is invalid because the warrants have already been executed.
“By filing a lawsuit, we have compelled them to go in front of a court and make that showing to a judge,” he said.