The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia (ACLU-WV) filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit on Apr. 12 demanding government documents about the on-the-ground implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans.
The action is part of a total of 13 FOIA lawsuits filed by ACLU affiliates across the country. The ACLU-WV lawsuit is seeking records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s College Park Field Office. In particular, the lawsuit seeks records related to CBP’s implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Charleston International Airport and Yeager Airport.
The ACLU first sought this information through FOIA requests submitted to CBP on Feb. 2. Since the government has failed to substantively respond, the ACLU is now suing.
“While Trump’s first Muslim Ban was in effect, we heard troubling reports from around the country that CBP officers were disobeying federal court orders. Under the Freedom of Information Act, the American people have a right to know who was making the decision to flout federal judges and the U.S. Constitution. We are dealing here with an executive order that deeply disrupted peoples’ lives and an administration that has made it clear they don’t care about peoples’ civil liberties. Government transparency has never been more important than it is right now,’ said Jamie Lynn Crofts, legal director of the ACLU of West Virginia.
“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.
Each lawsuit 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.
The coordinated lawsuits seek information from the following local CBP offices: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa and Tucson.