Friend-of-the-court brief for immigrants impacted by ICE data breach

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition filed a friend-of-the-court brief, also known as an Amicus brief, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to support asylum seekers in detention who were impacted by a data breach of their personal information by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ICE posted a public-facing document on that included the names, identification numbers, birthdates, locations, and other personally identifiable information of approximately 6,000 noncitizens in ICE custody on November 28, 2022. This data breach raises security concerns for asylum seekers who have experienced significant harm or torture in their country of origin and have come to the U.S. for safety.

“I am even more scared to return to my country now,” said one man impacted by the breach. “I said many things to the U.S. government during my credible fear interview, and I am unsure who could access that information. I am unsure if the Salvadoran government or people who want to harm me got my information. I feel more unsafe now.”

In its amicus brief for Asylum Seekers Trying to Assure Their Safety v. Johnson, CAIR Coalition asks for transparency and the information needed to support immigrants who are detained and at risk of deportation. Immigration attorneys are facing substantial challenges in obtaining evidence because, in immigration court, the burden is on the asylum seeker to prove eligibility and bring forth proof. In this situation, the critical information from the breach is unavailable to the impacted individuals but readily available to the government.

“CAIR Coalition has represented or supported many individuals impacted by the data breach in immigration court,” said Monica Mananzan, Esq., Managing Attorney in the Detained Adults Program at CAIR Coalition. “This Amicus brief is necessary because legal teams are litigating and defending their clients in the dark since it is still unclear what information was leaked.”

The brief also addresses the issue of prolonged detention. Many individuals impacted by the breach remain detained because they are in informational limbo. Sometimes ICE will detain immigrants during proceedings for anywhere from a few months to several years.

"Being detained in an immigration facility is a highly traumatizing experience for everyone, especially for asylum seekers," said Khatia Mikadze, Immigration Attorney at CAIR Coalition and a Gallogly Family Foundation Public Interest Fellow. "While we have been trying to secure cybersecurity experts to demonstrate how this data breach creates an additional risk of harm to impacted individuals, this burden should fall on the government to show how the leaked data may impact our clients."


CONTACT: Erin Barnaby,

Through free legal, social, and litigation services, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) works to ensure equal justice for immigrants in the Capital region who are at risk of detention and deportation.


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