DENVER — ACLU affiliates in Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, Alaska, and Colorado joined together in filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit today against their regional U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office demanding government documents about the on-the-ground implementation of President Trump’s executive orders suspending refugee resettlement and banning Muslims from seven countries from entering and returning to the United States.
Today’s action is part of a total of 13 FOIA lawsuits filed by ACLU affiliates across the country. The ACLU of Idaho lawsuit is seeking records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Portland office. Each suit seeks unique and local information regarding how CBP implemented the executive orders at specific airports and ports of entry in the midst of rapidly developing and sometimes conflicting government guidance.
“We deserve transparency and accountability at all levels of government and especially in the wake of
President Trump’s unconstitutional and un-American Muslim bans,” said ACLU of Idaho Legal Director Richard Eppink. “Those executive orders spread chaos and confusion across America, and brought unnecessary, discriminatory hardship down on Idahoans both old and new. Our public agencies have a democratic and legal obligation to disclose to the American people the guidance and training their agents are following.”
The ACLU first sought this information through FOIA requests submitted to CBP on February 2. Since the government has failed to substantively respond, the ACLU is now suing.
“CBP has a long history of ignoring its obligations under the federal Freedom of Information Act — a law that was enacted to ensure that Americans have timely access to information of pressing public concern. The public has a right to know how federal immigration officials have handled the implementation of the Muslim bans, especially after multiple federal courts have blocked various aspects of these executive orders,” said Mitra Ebadolahi, Border Litigation Project Staff Attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties.
The coordinated lawsuits seek information from the following local CBP offices:
More information about the FOIA lawsuits will be available here:
The ACLU national release is here:
The releases on the original FOIA requests is here:
More background on CBP’s FOIA practices is here:
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