Less than a week after President Donald Trump issued an executive order that effectively bans travel to the United States for people who are citizens of seven countries with predominantly Muslim populations, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed 18 coordinated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the aim of revealing the Administration’s actions as they relate to the “Muslim Ban.”
“It is imperative that the public learn if federal immigration officials are blatantly defying nationwide federal court orders that block President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban,” Mitra Ebadolahi, Border Litigation Project staff attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties said in a statement. “To shed light on this critical issue of pressing public concern, 50 ACLU affiliates are using the Freedom of Information Act to expose Customs and Border Protection’s abuse of power.”
The ACLU immediately challenged the legality of the ban—which was issued on January 27—prompting, several federal judges to order an end to enforcement for various portions of the impacted populations. But several media outlets, including USA Today have reported that Customs and Border Protection officials continued to detain and deport travelers anyway.
Meanwhile, it is still unclear how many people have been directly impacted the executive order, which has been criticized as vague on the details of enforcement.
Yesterday (February 2), 50 ACLU affiliates came together to file the requests, which seek to uncover documents from local Customs and Border Protection offices across the country. Read the ACLU national office’s FOIA request here.