The New York Civil Liberties Union, together with the ACLU of New Jersey, filed a Freedom of Information Act request today with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to expose Trump administration officials’ interpretation and execution of the president’s Muslim and refugee ban at area international airports. Today’s action is part of a coordinated effort by 50 ACLU affiliates, which filed 18 FOIA requests with Customs and Border Protection field offices and headquarters, spanning 55 international airports across the country.
President Trump’s executive order went into effect immediately on Friday, and people were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport over the weekend. The ACLU challenged the executive order in a Brooklyn federal court, and Federal District Court Judge Ann M. Donnelly issued a stay Saturday evening that prevents refugees and immigrants from being removed from the United States under the discriminatory policy. The Trump administration has not said how many refugees, visa holders, and legal permanent residents have been affected by its ban and the NYCLU continues to hear alarming reports of invasive and inappropriate questioning and detention of noncitizen travelers arriving to JFK.
The following statement is attributable to NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman.
“Not only does this un-American ban violate the constitution and our core values, but the Trump administration has kept the ban’s true impacts hidden from public view. We have heard stories of parents separated from children and confused travelers signing away their rights, but we don’t yet know the scope of the damage. New Yorkers want to know what is being done in our name. Our filing today asks the administration to explain itself, and we are proud to join with ACLU offices across the country to get answers for the public.”