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April 12, 2017

ACLU of Maryland Joins 41 Affiliates to Demand Documents on Implementation of Trump Muslim Ban

BALTIMORE - The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland joined 41 other ACLU affiliates from across the country in filing 13 Freedom of Information Act lawsuits today demanding government documents about the on-the-ground implementation of President Trump's Muslim bans. There is a regional lawsuit combining claims from the states of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland seeking records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection's offices. In particular, the ACLU seeks records related to CBP's implementation of President Trump's Muslim bans at Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, Dulles International Airport, Philadelphia International Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport.

"It is unacceptable for the Trump administration to ignore the public's right to know how immigration agents handled the implementation of the Muslim bans," said Susan Goering, Executive Director of the ACLU of Maryland. "Marylanders showed up in the thousands at the Dulles and BWI Marshall airports to protest the first executive order and they continue to be deeply concerned about federal anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies and how they affect people here in our state and 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.

"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.

Each lawsuit seeks unique and 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.

The coordinated lawsuits seek information from the following local CBP offices:
Los Angeles
San Diego
San Francisco

Information about all the lawsuits is here:

The national press release can be found here:

The release on the original FOIA requests is here:

More background on CBP's FOIA practices is here: