CBP Faces FOIA Lawsuit for Failing to Disclose Information About Border Patrol Practices in Ohio

American Immigration Council et. ABLE v. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, No. 3:22-cv-00149-JRK (N.D. Ohio filed Jan. 28, 2022)


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a troubled history, rife with misconduct and impunity. While the agency’s problematic enforcement tactics usually are associated with the southern U.S. border, its agents operating along the northern border also warrant investigation. 

The American Immigration Council, Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), and Immigrant Legal Defense filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain information about CBP’s immigration enforcement activities  in northern Ohio 

Why was this FOIA lawsuit filed?  

CBP operates a headquarters near Port Clinton, Ohio, on the Canadian border. The Sandusky Bay Station opened in 2009 and CBP is tight-lipped about its operations there.  

CBP failed to release information in response to three FOIA requests filed in March 2021, seeking records relating to apprehensions, policies and communications within the Sandusky Bay Station of the Border Patrol 

This lawsuit seeks to obtain 

  1. Communications, including communication between Sandusky Bay Station and state and local law enforcement regarding translation services and immigration enforcement actions. 

  1. Policies, including regarding investigative encounters; arrest quotas; targets; goals or expectations that have been imposed on Sandusky Bay Station employees; training regarding racial profiling; and guidance regarding the treatment or apprehension of minor or adults with minor children. 

  1. Data and forms held by the Sandusky Bay Station since 2015. Information requested include forms I-213 that document arrests, forms I-247 (“immigration detainers”) issued by Sandusky CBP requesting state or local law enforcement entities hold suspected immigrants in state or local custody, apprehension logs, and copies of all expedited removal orders issued to individuals apprehended in Ohio. 

These documents are key to the public’s understanding of CBP’s enforcement practices in Ohio and how CBP enforces immigration laws at northern U.S. borders and ports of entry to the United States.  

Disclosure of these record will arm the public with much-needed oversight over the agency’s actions to ensure compliance with immigration laws, and accountability for practices around apprehensions, arrests, detention, racial profiling, and collaboration with local law enforcement. 

This lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Western Division. 

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