On September 17, 2019, the ACLU of New Hampshire filed a federal lawsuit challenging the length of time that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has taken to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed more than six months ago. The ACLU-NH filed a FOIA request after obtaining documents illustrating new methods that involve CBP officers dressing in plain clothes, following people around town, and asking probing questions before ever identifying themselves as being federal immigration enforcement officials. These tactics are often happening far from the Canadian border, even as far as 100 miles.
CBP officers in plain clothes and unmarked cars are targeting people in New Hampshire, often nowhere near the border, who are simply going about their daily business. What we want to know is exactly how these officers are identifying individuals as potentially being undocumented immigrants. These documents should be released as quickly as possible, as it has been more than six months; according to the FOIA, we should have received a determination of whether CBP has responsive documents within 20 days.
The lawsuit is filed as a part of the New Hampshire Immigrants’ Rights Project, which was started in July 2018 by the ACLU-NH to address the need for increased legal aid for immigrants in the state. In addition to taking legal action, the Project conducts “Know Your Rights” trainings and teaches other interested lawyers how to take on immigration cases.