DHS Records Regarding Communications with Outside Anti-Immigrant Groups

Records received from the Department of Homeland Security regarding communications with outside anti-immigrant groups containing terms related to family separation. You can read more about these documents in our reporting on the Trump administration’s family separation policy here, and about Trump administration officials’ ties to anti-immigration groups here.

Details on the content of some of these records are below.

Records received May through August 2019

Records received November 2019

Records received December 2019

Records received January 2020

Records received March 2019

 

In the Documents

June 1, 2018: Cameron Quinn, an officer in the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), emailed Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan about Operation Streamline, a program implemented in 2005 that allows law enforcement to press federal criminal charges against individuals apprehended for illegal border crossing, with defendants often tried in mass proceedings. Quinn wrote: “We’re being told that Operation Streamline is causing parents to lose their opportunity to have their credible fear claims heard. […] And as a consequence, the children rendered UAC [unaccompanied alien children] due to the separation are now not part of the parents asylum claim. They would have to affirmatively request asylum, […] which in some cases, given their tender age, is not likely.”

July 6, 2017: The Center for Immigration Studies’ (CIS) research director emailed DHS counselor Gene Hamilton and USCIS official Michael Dougherty. Camarota asked them to delay an announcement on a temporary hike in new H-2B temporary worker visas, writing: “We are gonna try and put some stuff out at the center to make the case there is no need to increase the numbers. Is it possible to delay?” 

March 17, 2017: Maria Espinoza, founder of the anti-immigration extremist group the Remembrance Project, emailed Hamilton about a March 16 meeting with DHS Secretary John F. Kelly. Espinoza wrote that the meeting was a “first step” in a “great partnership.” 

Nov. 5, 2017: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services adviser Robert Law received a CIS newsletter containing immigration-related opinion pieces, including one article published by the white nationalist group the VDARE Foundation. Law later joined CIS as the director of regulatory affairs and policy following his departure from USCIS in 2021. 

July 9, 2018: Quinn received a letter from CRCL officials concerning “the imminent threat of harm to children posed by the possible expansion of the family detention program.”