MIAMI, FL – The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit today 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 Florida lawsuit is seeking records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Miami and Tampa field offices. In particular, the lawsuit seeks records related to CBP’s implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans at Miami International Airport and Orlando 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 is now suing.
“The public deserves to know how the cruel and poorly-executed Muslim ban was being implemented in Florida and across the country,” stated ACLU of Florida Legal Director, Nancy Abudu. “Customs and Border Protection cannot pretend that these requests for public information don’t exist.”
“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. “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.”
The ACLU of Florida’s lawsuit is being filed by the Law Office of Andrea Flynn Mogensen, PA., and Brian Tannebaum of Brian L. Tannebaum, P.A.
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