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[Federal Register: April 22, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 77)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 19508-19511]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



Immigration and Naturalization Service

8 CFR Parts 236 and 241

[INS No. 2203-02]
RIN 1115-AG67

Release of Information Regarding Immigration and Naturalization 
Service Detainees in Non-Federal Facilities

AGENCY: Immigration and Naturalization Service, Justice.

ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments.


SUMMARY: This interim rule governs the public disclosure by any state 
or local government entity or by any privately operated facility of the 
name or other information relating to any immigration detainee being 
housed or otherwise maintained or provided service on behalf of the 
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS or Service). This rule will 
establish a uniform policy on the public release of information on 
Service detainees and ensure the Service's ability to support the law 
enforcement and national security needs of the United States.

DATES: Effective date: This rule is effective April 17, 2002.
    Comment date: Written comments must be submitted on or before June 
21, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Please submit written comments to the Director, Regulations 
and Forms Services Division, Immigration and Naturalization Service, 
425 I Street, NW, Room 4034, Washington, DC, 20536. To ensure proper 
handling, please reference INS No. 2203-02 on your correspondence. 
Comments may also be submitted electronically to the Service at When submitting comments electronically, please 
include INS No. 2203-02 in the subject heading. Comments are available 
for public inspection at this location by calling (202) 514-3048 to 
arrange for an appointment.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dea Carpenter, Deputy General Counsel, 
Office of the General Counsel, Immigration and Naturalization Service, 
425 I Street NW, Room 6100, Washington, DC 20536, telephone (202) 514-

    This interim rule governs the release of the identity or other 
information relating to Service detainees by non-federal institutions. 
An alien may be detained pursuant to an administrative

[[Page 19509]]

order of arrest in connection with removal proceedings. Section 236(a) 
of the Immigration and Nationality Act (Act), 8 U.S.C. 1226(a), 
authorizes the Attorney General to detain aliens pending a 
determination of whether the alien should be removed from the United 
States. See 8 CFR 287.7. Section 241 of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1231, 
authorizes the Attorney General to detain aliens ordered removed. The 
Service may detain such aliens in a Federal detention facility, or may 
arrange for the alien to be housed by a state or local government 
entity or by a privately operated detention facility (``non-Federal 
providers'') under contract with the Service or otherwise. However, 
even under such an arrangement, the detainee remains in the custody of, 
and subject to the authority and management of, the Service. 
Information relating to such detainees also remains subject to the 
authority and management of the Service.
    This rule clarifies that non-Federal providers shall not release 
information relating to those detainees, and that requests for public 
disclosure of information relating to Service detainees, including 
Service detainees temporarily being held by non-Federal providers on 
behalf of the Service, will be directed to the Service. The rule bars 
release of such information by non-Federal providers in order to 
preserve a uniform policy on the release of such information. 
Accordingly, any disclosure of such records will be made by the Service 
and will be governed by the provisions of applicable Federal law, 
regulations, and Executive Orders. This rule does not address or alter 
in any way the Service's policies regarding its release of information 
concerning detainees; these policies remain unchanged.
    This regulation is within the scope of the authority delegated to 
the Attorney General under the Act. Section 103(a)(1) of the Act, 8 
U.S.C. 1103(a)(1), charges the Attorney General ``with the 
administration and enforcement'' of ``all * * * laws relating to the 
immigration and nationalization of aliens,'' and section 103(a)(3) of 
the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1103(a)(3), empowers him to ``establish such 
regulations * * * as he deems necessary for carrying out his 
authority.'' The Attorney General, in turn, has delegated broad 
authority to the Commissioner to implement the immigration laws, 
including the authority to issue implementing regulations. 8 CFR 2.1.
    This rule, governing the release of information concerning the 
identity or other information relating to Service detainees housed in 
non-Federal facilities, is both necessary and proper to carrying out 
the Attorney General's detention authority under sections 236 and 241 
of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1226 and 1231; to ``control, direct[], and 
supervis[e]'' all of the ``files and records'' of the Service under 
section 103(a)(2) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1103(a)(2); and to arrange by 
contract with state and local governments ``for necessary clothing, 
medical care, necessary guard hire, and the housing, care, and security 
of persons detained by the Service pursuant to Federal law,'' 8 U.S.C. 
1103(a)(9)(A)), as well as his authority under 18 U.S.C. 4002, 
    The Supreme Court has recognized the primacy of Federal law in 
matters related to aliens and immigration. Toll v. Moreno, 458 U.S. 1, 
10 (1980) (emphasizing the ``preeminent role of the Federal Government 
with respect to the regulation of aliens with our borders'' and noting 
the numerous constitutional sources of that authority); DeCanas v. 
Bica, 424 U.S. 351, 355 (1976) (``Power to regulate immigration is 
unquestionably exclusively a federal power.''); Examining Bd. of 
Eng'rs, Architects & Surveyors v. Flores de Otero, 426 U.S. 572, 605 
(1976) (acknowledging ``the Federal Government's primary power and 
responsibility for the regulation of immigration''); see also INS v. 
Aguirre-Aguirre, 526 U.S. 422, 424, 425 (1999) (``judicial deference to 
the Executive Branch is especially appropriate in the immigration 
context''). In some instances, the release of information about a 
particular detainee or group of detainees could have a substantial 
adverse impact on security matters as well as the detainee's privacy. 
For example, specific aliens detained under administrative arrest 
warrants may possess significant foreign intelligence or 
counterintelligence information that is sought by the United States. 
The disclosure of those aliens' detention and the location of their 
detention could invite foreign intelligence activity contrary to the 
best interests of the United States. Similarly, the premature release 
of the identity or other information relating to those aliens could 
jeopardize sources and methods of the intelligence community. Release 
of information about a specific detainee or group of detainees could 
also have a substantial adverse impact on ongoing investigations being 
conducted by federal law enforcement agencies in conjunction with the 
Service. Even though an individual detainee may choose to disclose his 
own identity or some information about himself, the release by 
officials housing detainees of a list of detainees or other information 
about them could give a terrorist organization or other group a vital 
roadmap about the course and progress of an investigation. In certain 
instances, the detention of a specific alien could alert that alien's 
coconspirators to the extent of the federal investigation and the 
imminence of their own detention, thus provoking flight to avoid 
detention, prosecution and removal from the United States. Premature 
release of the identity of or information relating to a specific alien 
in detention could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a 
confidential source and techniques or procedures for law enforcement 
investigations or prosecution. See 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(D), (E). 
Officials of the non-Federal providers may not possess information 
regarding the progress of Federal investigations and cannot make 
judgments about the risk of release of information relating to Service 
    This intelligence ``mosaic'' dilemma has been well recognized by 
the courts in concluding both that they are ill suited to second-guess 
the Executive Branch's determination and that seemingly innocuous 
production should not be made.
    It requires little reflection to understand that the business of 
foreign intelligence gathering in this age of computer technology is 
more akin to the construction of a mosaic than it is to the management 
of a cloak and dagger affair. Thousands of pieces of seemingly 
innocuous information can be analyzed and fitted into place to reveal 
with startling clarity how the unseen whole must operate. As the Fourth 
Circuit Court of Appeals has observed:
    The significance of one item of information may frequently depend 
upon knowledge of many other items of information. What may seem 
trivial to the uninformed, may appear of great moment to one who has a 
broad view of the scene and may put the questioned item of information 
in its proper context. The courts, of course are ill-equipped to become 
sufficiently steeped in foreign intelligence matters to serve 
effectively in the review of secrecy classifications in that area.
    United States v. Marchetti, 466 F.2d 1309, 1318 (4th Cir.), cert. 
denied, 409 U.S. 1063 (1972).
    Halkin v. Helms, 598 F.2d 1 (D.C. Cir. 1978). See also e.g., Kasza 
v. Browner, 133 F.3d 1159, 1166 (9th Cir. 1998) (quoting Halkin); J. 
Roderick MacArthur Foundation v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, 102 
F.3d 600, 604 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (``As we have said before, 
``intelligence gathering is akin to the

[[Page 19510]]

construction of a mosaic.'''' (citation omitted)).
    In view of the primacy of Federal law in this area, it would make 
little sense for the release of potentially sensitive information 
concerning Service detainees to be subject to the vagaries of the laws 
of the various States within which those detainees are housed and 
maintained, by specific arrangement with the Service, for the United 
States. Application of State law in this area has the potential to 
threaten the Attorney General's mission. State law, unlike Federal law, 
may not be well adapted to the special national security, law 
enforcement, and privacy concerns implicated by the release of this 
type of information. This rule provides for a uniform Federal approach 
to ensure the consistent treatment of all Service detainees, including 
those being detained by non-Federal providers on behalf of the Service.
    The rule also reflects the nature and origin of the information 
concerning the immigration detainees. When a non-Federal provider 
assumes responsibility for housing a detainee, it does so as an agent 
of the Federal government. The only reason that the non-Federal 
provider knows the detainees' names or other related information about 
them is because the Federal government has made such information 
available pursuant to that agency relationship. The non-Federal 
provider, as agent, should not release the principal's potentially 
sensitive information without its consent, particularly where doing so 
may be inconsistent with the principal's interests. Instead, the 
Service as principal should determine whether and under what 
circumstances such information should be released consistent with 
federal law.
    This interim rule supersedes State or local law relating to the 
release of such information. New York v. FERC, __ U.S. __, 122 S.Ct. 
1012 (March 4, 2002, No. 00-568); Fidelity Federal Savings and Loan 
Assoc. v. De le Cuesta, 458 U.S. 141, 153-54 (1982); Louisiana Pub. 
Serv. Comm'n v. FCC, 476 U.S. 355, 369 (1986); Boyle v. United 
Technologies Corp., 487 U.S. 500, 504-507, 512 (1988).
    This rule is similar to the existing regulations of the Federal 
Bureau of Prisons (``BOP''), 28 CFR 513.33--513.36, which provide that 
information regarding BOP inmates shall only be disclosed pursuant to 
Federal law. Section 513.34(b) of BOP's regulations specifically 
provides that ``Lists of Bureau inmates shall not be disclosed.'' See 
Brady-Lunny v. Massey, 185 F. Supp. 2d 928 (C.D. Ill. 2002). Although 
the BOP rule relating to contractors, 28 CFR 513.36(b), provides that 
the requirements relating to the privacy of inmate information are to 
be established and enforced by contract, this rule governing the 
disclosure of information pertaining to Service detainees specifically 
prohibits the non-Federal providers from disclosing such information 
themselves. Disclosure or release of the identity of Service detainees 
or other information relating to Service detainees information is 
solely the responsibility of the Service.
    The rule specifically provides that it shall apply to all pending 
and future requests for disclosure of or proceedings concerning the 
release of the name, or related information, of detainees held on 
behalf of the Service, including requests that are the subject of 
proceedings or litigation as of the effective date of this rule. See 
Smiley v. Citibank (South Dakota), N.A., 517 U.S. 735, 739-740 (1996); 
Plaut v. Spendthrift Farm, Inc., 514 U.S. 211 (1995); United States v. 
Morton, 467 U.S. 822, 835-836 n. 21 (1984); United States v. Schooner 
Peggy, 1 Cranch 103, 110, 2 L.Ed. 49 (1801).
    This rule does not alter the ability of a detainee to seek legal 
counsel under 8 U.S.C. 1362. A detainee has the privilege of seeking 
legal counsel or representation by an accredited representative at no 
expense to the United States. This rule imposes no restrictions on the 
ability of Service detainees to identify themselves or to communicate 
with others. It only prevents non-Federal providers from making public 
disclosures of information pertaining to the Service detainees that the 
non-Federal provider is housing on behalf of the Service. Such requests 
for public disclosure of information pertaining to Service detainees 
should be directed to the Service.
    Finally, this rule also changes Service regulations at Part 241, 
``Apprehension and Detention of Aliens Ordered Removed,'' to make clear 
that the identity or other information relating to post-order detainees 
in non-federal institutions are governed by the same standards and 
principles as set forth in this rule.

Request for Comments

    The Service is seeking public comments regarding this interim rule. 
The Service requests that parties interested in commenting on the 
provisions contained within this rule do so on or before June 21, 2002, 
as the Service will not extend the comment period.

Good Cause Exception

    The Service's implementation of this rule as an interim rule, with 
provisions for post-promulgation public comments, is based on the 
``good cause'' exceptions found at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and (d)(3). The 
reason and necessity for the immediate promulgation of this rule are as 
follows: Service detainees are often housed, maintained, or provided 
with service by non-Federal providers. Disclosure of the identities or 
related information about certain detainees could reveal investigative 
methods, sources, and witnesses. The detainee could be subjected to 
intimidation or harm, thereby discouraging or preventing him or her 
from supplying valuable information or leads now or in the future. 
Disclosure of a detainee's identity or information related to the 
detainee could deter these individuals from cooperating with the 
Department of Justice now or after they are released from custody for 
fear of retaliation by terrorist organizations against them or their 
family members and associates. Disclosure could reveal important 
information about the direction, progress, focus and scope of 
investigations arising out of the attack on September 11, 2001, and 
thereby assist terrorist organizations in counteracting investigative 
efforts of the United States. Therefore, the actual identity of a 
detainee and information related to such a detainee must be managed by 
the Service.
    In order to safeguard these important interests, the Service must 
maintain control of the release of information pertaining to the 
identity of or other information related to Service detainees, 
including information in the control of persons or entities acting on 
behalf of the Service. In light of the national emergency declared by 
the President on September 14, 2001, in Proclamation 7453, with respect 
to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the continuing 
threat by terrorists to the security of the United States, and the need 
immediately to control identifying or other information pertaining to 
Service detainees, there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) and (d) 
for dispensing with the requirements of prior notice and to make this 
rule effective upon April 17, 2002.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, in 
accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), has 
reviewed this regulation and, by approving it, certifies that this rule 
will not have a significant economic impact

[[Page 19511]]

on a substantial number of small entities. This rule applies only to 
release of information about Service detainees being housed or 
maintained in a state or local government entity or a privately 
operated detention facility. It does not have any adverse impact on 
small entities as that term is defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6).

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local, and 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 
million or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed 
necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act of 1996. This rule will not 
result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a 
major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on 
competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on 
the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign-
based companies in domestic and export markets.

Executive Order 12866

    This rule is considered by the Department of Justice, Immigration 
and Naturalization Service, to be a ``significant regulatory action'' 
under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f), Regulatory Planning and 
Review. Accordingly, this rule has been submitted to the Office of 
Management and Budget for review.

Executive Order 13132

    This rule will not have substantial direct effects on the States, 
on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or 
on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various 
levels of government. This rule merely pertains to the public 
disclosure of information concerning Service detainees housed, 
maintained or otherwise served in state or local government or 
privately operated detention facilities under any contract or other 
agreement with the Service. In effect, the rule will relieve state or 
local government entities of responsibility for the public release of 
information relating to any immigration detainee being housed or 
otherwise maintained or provided service on behalf of the Service. 
Instead, the rule reserves that responsibility to the Service with 
regard to all Service detainees. Therefore, in accordance with section 
6 of Executive Order 13132, it is determined that this rule does not 
have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a 
federalism summary impact statement.

Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform

    This rule meets the applicable standards set forth in sections 3(a) 
and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not impose any new reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

List of Subjects

8 CFR Part 236

    Administrative practice and procedure, Aliens, Immigration.

8 CFR Part 241

    Administrative practice and procedure, Aliens, Immigration.

    Accordingly, chapter I of title 8 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations is amended as follows:


    1. The authority citation for part 236 is revised to read as 

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 552, 552a; 8 U.S.C. 1103, 1182, 1224, 
1225, 1226, 1227, 1231, 1362; 18 U.S.C. 4002, 4013(c)(4); 8 CFR part 

    2. Section 236.6 is added to read as follows:

Sec. 236.6  Information regarding detainees.

    No person, including any state or local government entity or any 
privately operated detention facility, that houses, maintains, provides 
services to, or otherwise holds any detainee on behalf of the Service 
(whether by contract or otherwise), and no other person who by virtue 
of any official or contractual relationship with such person obtains 
information relating to any detainee, shall disclose or otherwise 
permit to be made public the name of, or other information relating to, 
such detainee. Such information shall be under the control of the 
Service and shall be subject to public disclosure only pursuant to the 
provisions of applicable federal laws, regulations and executive 
orders. Insofar as any documents or other records contain such 
information, such documents shall not be public records. This section 
applies to all persons and information identified or described in it, 
regardless of when such persons obtained such information, and applies 
to all requests for public disclosure of such information, including 
requests that are the subject of proceedings pending as of April 17, 


    3. The authority citation for part 241 is revised to read as 

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 552, 552a; 8 U.S.C. 1103, 1182, 1223, 
1224, 1225, 1226, 1227, 1231, 1251, 1253, 1255, 1330, 1362; 18 
U.S.C. 4002, 4013(c)(4); 8 CFR part 2.

    4. Section 241.15 is added to read as follows:

Sec. 241.15  Information regarding detainees.

    Disclosure of information relating to detainees shall be governed 
by the provisions of Sec. 236.6 of this chapter.

    Dated: April 17, 2002.
James W. Ziglar,
Commissioner, Immigration and Naturalization Service.
[FR Doc. 02-9863 Filed 4-18-02; 2:59 pm]