When President Trump announced his Muslim ban, chaos erupted at airports and border crossings nationwide. People flying home to their families were detained at airports, lawful permanent residents were stranded outside the country, and the government’s interpretation of who was banned kept changing. After multiple federal courts across the country issued injunctions suspending the ban, reports surfaced that the government was flouting the court orders.
In February 2017 the ACLU of Michigan, along with 49 other ACLU affiliates, filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with local U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) offices to expose how Trump administration officials interpreted and executed the president’s Muslim ban at over 55 international airports across the country, acting in violation of federal courts that ordered a stay on the ban’s implementation.
After the government failed to respond to our FOIA requests, ACLU affiliates across the country, including in Michigan, brought 13 federal lawsuits to obtain the requested records. Under a production schedule ordered by Judge Judith Levy, CBP produced documents in our case that paint a detailed picture of the chaos and cruelty of the ban. The case settled in August 2019 when the government agreed to pay our attorneys’ fees.
(ACLU of Michigan v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security; ACLU Attorneys Miriam Aukerman, Michael J. Steinberg, Juan Caballero and Elaine Lewis; Cooperating Attorneys Gabriel Bedoya, Andrew Pauwels, and Andrew Goddeeris of Honigman.)