The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) local field office in Boston to expose how Trump administration officials are interpreting and executing the president’s immigration ban, and in particular how they appear to be acting in violation of federal courts that ordered a stay on the ban’s implementation. The FOIA request was filed jointly with the ACLU affiliates in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont as part of a coordinated ACLU effort across the country.

“The public has a right to know what federal officials are up to, and particularly if they are failing to comply with their constitutional obligations,” said Steven Brown, Executive Director of the ACLU of Rhode Island.

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 immigration 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, 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 FOIA request seeks records relating to CBP’s interpretation and implementation of the court orders and documents concerning the number of people who have been detained at airports under the President’s executive order.

The FOIA request filed by the five New England ACLU affiliates seeks the documents on an expedited basis in light of the issue’s urgency. The request can be found here: {filedir_4}uploads/CBP_FOIA_New_England.pdf