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Anna Núñez, ACLU of Texas, (713) 325-7010, media@aclutx.org

February 2, 2017

FOIA Filed As Part of Coordinated Campaign With 50 ACLU Affiliates

HOUSTON — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas filed a Freedom of Information Act request today with its local U.S. Customs and Border Protection office to expose how Trump administration officials are interpreting and executing the president’s Muslim ban, acting in violation of federal courts that ordered a stay on the ban’s implementation. The filing today is part of a coordinated effort from 50 ACLU affiliates, which filed 18 FOIAs with CBP field offices and its headquarters spanning over 55 international airports across the country.

“As a border affiliate, the ACLU of Texas is more familiar than most people with CBP’s broad interpretation of its own enforcement mandate,” said Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director of the ACLU of Texas. “Given the uncertainty over the President’s executive order and all the chaos that it caused in our nation’s airports, it is incumbent on the ACLU and everybody who believes in the rule of law to ensure CBP remains transparent and accountable to the people. We don’t want CBP agents to be emboldened by this order or future orders to exceed their own authority.”

Media reports indicate that CBP officials detained and deported individuals, even after federal courts ordered officials to stop enforcing the executive order following a court challenge from the ACLU and other organizations.

“It is imperative that the public learn if federal immigration officials are blatantly defying nationwide federal court orders that block President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim 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, 50 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 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 N. Carolina N. Dakota N. California Ohio
Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island San Diego S. Carolina
S. California Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont
Virginia Washington Washington, D.C. West Virginia Wisconsin

Helpful links:

The ACLU national FOIA request.
The ACLU national release.

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