February 2, 2017

WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont filed a Freedom of Information Act request today with its local U.S. Customs and Border Protection office to expose how Trump administration officials are interpreting and executing the president’s Muslim ban, acting in violation of federal courts that ordered a stay on the ban’s implementation. The filing today is part of a coordinated effort from 50 ACLU affiliates, which filed 18 FOIAs with CBP field offices and its headquarters spanning over 55 international airports across the country.

“From the very beginning, this unconstitutional Executive Order was executed in a chaotic and arbitrary fashion, with administration officials misrepresenting the actual extent of its impact” said James Lyall, Executive Director of the ACLU of Vermont. “Now, with reports emerging that immigration officials are ignoring federal court orders, the public needs to know how CBP officials are carrying out the immigration ban at local ports of entry. We are proud to join with ACLU affiliates nationwide to demand answers.”

Media reports indicate that CBP officials detained and deported individuals, even after federal courts ordered officials to stop enforcing the executive order following a court challenge from the ACLU and other organizations.

“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,” said Mitra Ebadolahi, Border Litigation Project Staff Attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. “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 Trump administration has yet to inform the public of how many refugees, visa holders, and legal permanent residents have been affected by this action.

The ACLU national FOIA request can be found here:

The ACLU national release is available here: