April 12, 2017 — The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) affiliates in Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, and Alaska filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit today against the regional U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office in demanding government documents about the on-the-ground implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans.
Today’s action is part of a total of 13 FOIA lawsuits filed by ACLU affiliates across the country. The ACLU of Oregon lawsuit is seeking records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Portland Field Office. In particular, the lawsuit seeks records related to CBP’s implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans at Portland International Airport, Denver International Airport, Ted Stevens International Airport, Boise International Airport, Casper/Natrona County International Airport and at port of entry offices in Anchorage, Denver, Boise, Portland, Casper.
The ACLU first sought this information through FOIA requests submitted to CBP on February 2, 2017. Since the government has failed to substantively respond, the ACLU is now suing.
“Oregonians have been cut off from their families, friends, and business associates by President Trump’s Muslim bans and the chaotic implementation that followed,” said Mat dos Santos, ACLU of Oregon legal director. “Portland International Airport is our gateway to the world and we deserve to know how the executive orders have been carried out here.”
“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.
All of the lawsuits can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/other/aclu-cbp-foia-lawsuits-regarding-muslim-ban-implementation
The ACLU national release is here: https://www.aclu.org/news/aclu-files-lawsuits-demanding-local-documents-implementation-trump-muslim-ban
The release on the original FOIA requests is here: https://www.aclu.org/news/aclu-files-demands-documents-implementation-trumps-muslim-ban
More background on CBP’s FOIA practices is here: https://www.aclu.org/letter/aclu-letter-cbp-re-foia-practices-july-2016
The complaint is online at: http://aclu-or.org/sites/default/files/Complaint_ACLU_of_Oregon_v_Customs_and_Border_Protection.pdf