Cleveland — The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit today requesting 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 Ohio lawsuit is seeking records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Regional Field Office in Chicago, Illinois. In particular, the lawsuit seeks records related to CBP’s implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, and Port Columbus 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 has now filed a lawsuit.
“The public has a right to know how federal immigration officials have handled the implementation of the Muslim Bans,” said Freda Levenson, legal director at the ACLU of Ohio. “Multiple federal courts have blocked various aspects of these executive orders, and since the CBP has failed to respond in the time allotted under federal law, we have no choice but to file a lawsuit,” added Levenson.
“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,” 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 Tuscon.
All of the affiliate FOIA lawsuits will be available here:
The release on the original FOIA requests is here:
More background on CBP’s FOIA practices is here: