LOS ANGELES — The ACLU Foundation of Southern California filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit today demanding government documents about the on-the-ground implementation of the president's Muslim bans.
Today’s action is part of a total of 13 FOIA lawsuits filed by ACLU affiliates across the country. The ACLU SoCal lawsuit is seeking records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Los Angeles field office. In particular, the lawsuit seeks records related to CBP’s implementation of the Muslim bans at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.
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.
“When Trump imposed his first Muslim ban, Customs and Border Patrol agents at LAX not only detained travelers for hours without proper access to food or places to sleep, they also withheld crucial information from family members and legal representatives,” said Devon Porter, attorney with the ACLU SoCal. “CBP is a government agency. The public has a right to know why they implemented President Trump’s orders in a way that created such havoc.”
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:
All of the affiliate FOIA lawsuits will be available 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