Lawsuit seeks data on covert DHS program

Dec. 1, 2006 at 9:29 AM
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NEW HAVEN, Conn., Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Students at the Yale Law School in New Haven, Conn. are suing the federal government for more information about Operation Front Line.

The Hartford Courant reported on Nov. 29 that Operation Front Line is a classified program conducted by the Department of Homeland Security to gather information on immigrants considered national security threats.

Yale law student Daniel Freeman first learned about Operation Front Line after counseling a client who sought the help of one of Yale's free legal clinics after being investigated through the program and arrested. Yale's Jerome Frank Legal Services Organization, along with the Allard Lowenstein International Human Rights Project, recently filed suit against the DHS in federal court in New Haven in an attempt to learn more about Operation Front Line's investigative techniques.

During his legal research Freeman located a sole official reference to Operation Front Line in a cost benefit analysis done by the White House's Office of Management and Budget. The 2006 budget report said that the DHS's Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigative branch oversees Operation Front Line. The lawsuit states that the operation's mission is "to address potential vulnerabilities in immigration and trade systems relative to the national security of the United States."

DHS spokesman Michael Gilhooly said that Operation Front Line was carried out in the months leading up to the 2004 presidential election and through the presidential inauguration to find "immigration violators that may have posed an enhanced public safety or national security threat."

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