ACLU Affiliates in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia File FOIA on Execution of Trump’s Immigration Ban
FOIA Filed As Part of Coordinated National Campaign With 50 ACLU Affiliates
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 2, 2017
CONTACT: Kathleen MacRae, [email protected], 505-681-3920
WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) affiliates of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia filed a coordinated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today with their local U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices to expose how Trump administration officials are interpreting and executing the president’s unconstitutional immigration 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 55 international airports across the country.
“This Executive Order has generated fear and confusion here in Delaware, as well as massive public outcry in support of Muslims, refugees and other immigrants,” said Kathleen MacRae, Executive Director of the ACLU of Delaware. “It is vital for the federal government to provide us with immediate assurances that officials are adhering to the federal court rulings restraining the ban as unconstitutional, as well as with detailed information about exactly how remaining portions of the Order are being implemented. Yesterday, Delaware’s Attorney General agreed to formally undertake an investigation into the impact that the challenged provisions of the order are having on Delaware residents, businesses, and institutions. We praise Attorney General Matt Denn for these actions, and hope that the information we gather with this FOIA filing may aid his efforts.”
Media reports indicate that CBP officials detained and deported individuals, even after federal courts ordered officials to stop enforcing the Trump executive order through a petition from the ACLU and other organizations. The ACLU of Delaware has received multiple calls from people worried about family members now blocked from visiting the U.S., worried about pending visa applications and how status petitions might be affected, and concerned about people being intimidated into giving up their rights in order to be admitted to the U.S.
“It is imperative that the public learn if federal immigration officials are blatantly defying nationwide federal court orders that discontinue President Trump’s unconstitutional immigration 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, 49 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 unlawful action.