Federal Court Rules in Favor of ACLU of Georgia

Trump Administration Must Release on an Accelerated Timetable Documents Concerning its Travel Ban on People of the Muslim Faith

Affiliate: ACLU of Georgia
December 14, 2017 12:45 pm

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ATLANTA – Yesterday, a federal court in Georgia agreed with the ACLU of Georgia that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Atlanta Field Office must turn over, on an accelerated timetable, documents concerning its handling of the one-the-ground implementation of President Trumps’ ban on international travelers who are of the Muslim faith. Nearly one year after the ACLU of Georgia filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding the release of these documents, the Trump Administration has only turned over 42 pages out of 17,131 pages of potentially relevant documents.

“The federal court recognized the ACLU of Georgia’s position. The Trump administration must now move to release quickly public documents that disclose how it is implementing a law that is a moral affront to our basic American principles,” stated Sean J. Young, Legal Director of the ACLU of Georgia. “As a public entity, the federal agency answers to the people. And we, the people, have a right to know how public officials are implementing policies that have caused and continue to cause so much disruption, uncertainty, and anguish for our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and employees.”

The ACLU of Georgia first sought this information through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted to the federal agency on February 2 of this year. Since the Trump Administration failed to substantively respond, the ACLU of Georgia sued. The legal action is one of a total of 13 FOIA lawsuits by ACLU state affiliates around the nation.

The ACLU of Georgia’s lawsuit seeks records related to the federal government agency’s implementation of President Trump’s ban on Muslim travelers at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport, where travelers were detained. When the Trump Administration announced this ban, thousands of people gathered at the Atlanta airport in protest. The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment specifically prohibits government policies that target people of a particular faith. Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport is the busiest airport in the world.

“Trump’s ban on travelers of the Muslim religion continues to have an especially harmful impact throughout Georgia, particularly here in Atlanta, where immigrants and refugees – who should have been welcomed with open arms – faced questioning and detention upon their arrival at Hartsfield airport,” said Andrea Young, Executive Director of the ACLU of Georgia.

The lawsuits seek information from the following local CBP offices:

Los Angeles
San Diego
San Francisco

Click here for a copy of the federal court decision.
Click here for the press release on the original FOIA requests.
Click here for more background on CBP’s FOIA practices.
Click here for a copy of this press release.

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