FOIA Filed As Part of Coordinated National Campaign With 50 ACLU Affiliates
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) affiliates of Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania on Thursday filed a coordinated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with their local U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) offices to expose how Trump administration officials are interpreting and executing the president’s unconstitutional immigration ban, acting in violation of federal courts that ordered a stay on the ban’s implementation.
The filing is part of a coordinated effort from 50 ACLU affiliates, which filed 18 FOIAs with CBP field offices and its headquarters spanning 55 international airports across the country.
“We must uncover the manner and extent to which these unconstitutional actions were taken, how many people have been affected, and what relief might be applied to individuals and families who have every legal right to be in this country,” said ACLU Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga.
Media reports indicate that CBP officials detained and deported individuals, even after federal courts ordered them to stop enforcing the Trump executive order through a petition from the ACLU and other organizations. The ACLU of Virginia has received many calls from people worried about family members now blocked from visiting the U.S., worried about pending visa applications and status petitions might be affected, and concerned about people being intimidated into giving up their rights in order to be admitted to the U.S.
“It is imperative that the public learn if federal immigration officials are blatantly defying nationwide federal court orders that discontinue President Trump’s unconstitutional immigration ban,” said Mitra Ebadolahi, Border Litigation Project Staff Attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. “To shed light on this critical issue of pressing public concern, 49 ACLU affiliates are using the Freedom of Information Act to expose Customs and Border Protection’s abuse of power.”
The Trump administration has yet to inform the public of how many refugees, visa holders, and legal permanent residents have been affected by this unlawful action.
The following ACLU affiliates participated in this coordinated FOIA filing:
Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Northern California Ohio Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island San Diego, California South Carolina Southern California Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington Washington, D.C. West Virginia Wisconsin