FOIA Seeks Information Regarding CBP Responses to Complaints of Officer Abuse

American Immigration Council v. DHS, et al.; Case No. 16-1050


This lawsuit seeks to compel U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to release records relating to CBP’s complaint process and actions taken in response to complaints made to CBP concerning its agents and officers since January 1, 2012.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request asked for three categories of records:

  1. Records concerning each incident of alleged misconduct referenced in complaints filed with CBP since January 1, 2012 relating to 15 categories of information (e.g., date of alleged misconduct, age and gender of the complainant, summary of allegations);
  2. Records that explain CBP’s process for handling complaints, including protocols for receiving, reviewing, responding to, investigating, referring, and resolving complaints, and the identification of all departments or components involved in the receipt or handling of complaints and the specific responsibilities of each such department or component.
  3. Records used by CBP to inform the public, including individuals apprehended or detained by CBP, about the process of filing a complaint against CBP or its personnel.

The Council filed suit when CBP failed to respond to an October 2, 2015 FOIA request. Eight months after the Council filed a FOIA request, CBP still had provided no response. 

CBP’s failure to produce the requested records violates FOIA and impedes the Council’s efforts to assess and inform the public about CBP’s progress, of lack thereof, in developing meaningful and transparent procedures for investigating and resolving complaints of abuse by U.S. Border Patrol agents.

In April 2018, the Council agreed that CBP had responded satisfactorily to the Council’s FOIA request. The Council currently is reviewing the documents that have been produced prior to publicly posting them.

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