American Civil Liberties Union affiliates across the country filed coordinated Freedom of Information Act lawsuits today demanding government documents about the on-the-ground implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans. The ACLU of Northern California, the ACLU of Hawai’i, and the ACLU of Utah jointly filed a FOIA lawsuit on Monday. Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is co-counsel in the lawsuit.
Today’s action is part of a total of 13 FOIA lawsuits filed by ACLU affiliates.
The ACLU of Northern California lawsuit is seeking records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s San Francisco Field Office. In particular, the lawsuit seeks records related to CBP’s implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans at Honolulu International Airport, Kona International Airport, Salt Lake City International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and San Jose International Airport.
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.
“The public turned out out en masse at airports, including San Francisco International Airport, to protest the Muslim ban and hold the government accountable,” said Linda Lye, Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Northern California. “The public has a right to know how CBP implemented and enforced these Executive Orders at airports here and across the country.”
“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:
The complaint can be found here:
All of the affiliate FOIA lawsuits will be available here:
The ACLU national release is here:
The ACLU national release on the original FOIA requests is here:
More background on CBP’s FOIA practices is here:
An interactive timeline of the Muslim Ban can be found here: