DHS and CBP Fail to Comply with Information Requests in ‘We Build the Wall’ Matter; ACLU of Texas Files Appeal

Affiliate: ACLU of Texas
August 25, 2020 4:00 pm

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HOUSTON – The ACLU of Texas today filed an appeal following the failure of Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security to provide all communications between agencies and We Build the Wall Inc., a private organization which had purported to raise funds for border wall construction, and other companies.

The new filing follows the federal indictments of four leaders of We Build the Wall, including founder Brian Kolfage and chairman of the advisory board Steve Bannon. According to federal prosecutors, hundreds of thousands of donors were defrauded by We Build the Wall leaders through donations made to a crowdfunding campaign.

“The federal government continues to obscure its relationship with the notorious private groups behind wall projects on the southern border,” said David Donatti, attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “The public deserves to find out what role the Trump administration had in dealing with these organizations, especially now that the leaders of one of those groups, We Build the Wall, are facing fraud charges, and related companies have received over a billion in federal contracts.”

The ACLU of Texas sought out information when the Trump administration awarded a $400 million contract to Fisher Industries, a private company that is associated with We Build the Wall, in what appeared to be an act to undercut congressional authority. Despite a 20-day deadline for responses, DHS and CBP have failed to deliver the records, which were first requested on Dec. 16, 2019.

A copy of the appeal is available here: https://www.aclutx.org/sites/default/files/wbw_foia_appeal_redacted.pdf

More information on the administration’s relationship with these groups is here: https://www.aclutx.org/en/news/how-far-will-trump-go-get-his-border-wall-were-demanding-answers

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