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Guan v. Wolf

Status: Ongoing
Last Update: August 14, 2020

What's at Stake

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of San Diego, and the New York Civil Liberties Union have filed a lawsuit against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on behalf of five journalists who were subject to unlawful questioning at the U.S. border. The lawsuit claims that border officers violated the First Amendment.

The plaintiffs, five freelance photojournalists, were detained and questioned at U.S. ports of entry about their reporting at the U.S.-Mexico border. On multiple separate occasions in 2018 and 2019, U.S. border officers targeted the journalists for secondary screening, compelled them to disclose information about their sources and observations as journalists, and searched through their photos and notes.

The journalists were among a group of lawyers and immigration advocates working at the southern border who were listed in a government database as targets for additional border scrutiny. NBC 7 San Diego first reported on the existence of the database in March 2019, after a whistleblower revealed it. The plaintiffs were identified in the database as members of the media.

The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Plaintiffs are seeking expungement of records unlawfully retained from their interrogations, as well as declaratory relief holding that border officers’ actions violated the First Amendment.

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