The ACLU of New Hampshire and five other New England ACLU affiliates filed a lawsuit on April 12, 2017 demanding government documents about the on-the-ground implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans. The lawsuit is seeking records from the Boston field office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) related to CBP’s implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans at Bradley, Bangor, Burlington, Logan, Manchester, and T.F. Green international airports.
“President Trump’s multiple executive orders have been a thinly veiled attempt to keep Muslims out of the country,” said Gilles Bissonnette, legal director at the ACLU of New Hampshire. “The United States was founded on religious freedom, and our Constitution requires it. These orders are an attack on our most fundamental values, and the American people deserve to know how they are being carried out.”
The ACLU first sought this information through multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted to CBP offices around the country on February 2. Since the government has failed to substantively respond, the ACLU is now suing to enforce the request. This action includes 13 FOIA lawsuits across the country.
Each lawsuit seeks unique 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.
Unfortunately, the 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.