September 02, 2021
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State for details on the Biden administration’s outsourcing the U.S. asylum process in Mexico to the United Nations (UN) and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:21-cv-02303)).
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit on August 30, 2021, after the State Department failed to respond to a May 12 FOIA request for:
- All records regarding to the role of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and/or any non-profit organization in the processing of asylum seekers or other undocumented migrants in northern Mexico seeking entry into the United States. This request includes any related records of communication between any representative of the Department of State and any representative of the UNHCR and/or the IOM.
- All records of communication between any representative of the Department of State (including, but not limited to, the United States Mission to the United Nations) and any representative of the United Nations or any United Nations agency related to the allocation of U.S. contributions to the UNHCR to nonprofit organizations providing assistance to asylum seekers and other undocumented migrants in northern Mexico.
In May 2021 Reuters reported that the Biden administration had initiated a “new process task[ing] a handful of non-profits working in Mexico with identifying and referring” asylum seekers and that “a spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the United States requested the agency channel U.S. funds to the non-profit groups involved.”
On August 13, 2021, a federal judge ruled the Biden administration must reinstate MPP finding that the Department of Health and Human Services was “arbitrary and capricious” in rescinding the program. On August 24, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s reinstatement order and denied the government’s request for a stay of that order.
“The Biden administration funneled tax dollars through the United Nations and non-profits as part of its unlawful open borders strategy,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Biden administration should stop the stonewalling and follow the law so the American people can follow their money.”
In August, Judicial Watch announced it filed a FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for information on asylum-seekers and other aliens participating in the Migrant Protection Protocols program (MPP) (“remain in Mexico” policy) who have been charged with crimes after entering the United States.
In other actions provoked by the Biden administration border crisis, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit against HHS for COVID-19 technical guidance provided to the Office of Refugee Resettlement relating to illegal aliens released by DHS and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in June.
On April 30, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit against HHS for records about assaults on and abuse of unaccompanied alien children in its custody after it was disclosed that multiple facilities where children are being held are unsafe.