RICHMOND, Va. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia today filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit demanding government documents about the on-the-ground implementation of President Donald Trump’s Muslim bans.
Today’s action is part of a total of 13 FOIA lawsuits filed by 42 ACLU affiliates across the country. The ACLU of Virginia lawsuit is seeking records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Baltimore, Md., field office. In particular, the lawsuit seeks records related to CBP’s implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans at Dulles International 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.
“For the sake of religious freedom, it is necessary to demand enforcement of this FOIA request in order to determine how the federal government enforced the travel ban, what actions were taken and who was affected,” said ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Leslie Mehta.
“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.