ACLU of Washington Files Lawsuit Demanding Documents on Implementation of Trump Muslim Ban

News Release: 
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Fight the Muslim Ban
Seattle - The ACLU of Washington today joined ACLU affiliates in Montana and North Dakota in filing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit today demanding government documents about the on-the-ground implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans.
The lawsuit is seeking records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s regional office.  In particular, the lawsuit seeks records related to CBP’s implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans at SeaTac airport.  Today’s action is part of a total of 13 FOIA lawsuits filed by ACLU affiliates across the country.

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.
“Border Patrol actions have been part and parcel of President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban. The American public has not forgotten the chaos created by the first executive order and it has a right to know exactly how Border Patrol was involved—information that is all the more important in light of the President’s commitment to the ban,” said Emily Chiang, ACLU of Washington Legal Director.
“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. 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,” said Mitra Ebadolahi, Border Litigation Project Staff Attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties.
In late January, the ACLU of Washington and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project secured a court order releasing two clients from Border Patrol custody at SeaTac Airport. The ACLU of Washington has also filed a lawsuit challenging the Muslim ban on behalf of refugees and asylees who reside in Washington and have filed applications to reunify with their family members who have completed and cleared their final security screenings. Plaintiffs also include people who are Washington state residents here legally but who do not currently have a multiple entry visa; the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, which helps to resettle refugees; and the Council on American Islamic Relations.  
"These requests seek to document what CBP was instructed to do, at a local and regional level, to implement the unconstitutional executive order. They have a lot to answer for, particularly at Sea-Tac," said the ACLU-WA’s Cooperating Attorney Eric Stahl of Davis Wright Tremaine.
Handling the suit are ACLU-WA Legal Director Emily Chiang and Cooperating Attorney Eric Stahl of Davis Wright Tremaine.
The case number for American Civil Liberties Union of Washington et al v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security is 2:17-cv-00562.
For more information on CBP’s FOIA practices see: