Wilwal, et al. v. Kelly, et al., No. 0:17-cv-02835 (D. Minn., filed July 13, 2017)
On July 13, 2017, the ACLU, the ACLU of Minnesota, and Robins Kaplan LLP brought suit on behalf of the Wilwal-Abdigani family, a family of six American citizens who were detained at a North Dakota port of entry for over ten hours when crossing back into the United States from Canada. When the family arrived at the border, CBP agents drew their weapons and handcuffed Abdisalam Wilwal, allegedly because his name appeared on a terrorism-related watchlist, which Mr. Wilwal believes was a wrongful placement. He was questioned for hours and ended up fainting while in custody due to the placement of his handcuffs. Agents allegedly questioned him for being a Muslim and demanded to know if he was involved with terrorism. When Mr. Wilwal’s teenage son called 911 and reported that he was being held against his will, CBP agents confiscated his phone and strip-searched him.
Mr. Wilwal and his family brought suit against CBP seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for violations of their constitutional rights, including the right against search and seizure and Mr. Wilwal’s right to due process because of his placement on a terrorism watchlist without any opportunity to challenge that placement. On October 12, 2017, the plaintiffs amended the complaint to add claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act for false imprisonment, assault, and battery. On November 8, 2017, the government moved to dismiss the case. Briefing was completed on the motion to dismiss on January 24, 2018.
On September 27, 2018 the court granted in part and denied in part the government’s motion to dismiss. Plaintiff’s claim alleging violation of substantive due process rights was dismissed with prejudice; and the government’s motion was denied in all other respects.
In May 2020, following successful settlement negotiations, the case was dismissed with prejudice.
- Amended Complaint
- Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss
- Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Motion to Dismiss
- Defendants’ Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss
- Memorandum Opinion and Order Granting in Part, Denying in Part the Motion to Dismiss
- A Judge Just Reminded CBP the Border Isn’t a Rights-Free Zone
- Lawsuit Challenging Abusive Border Detention of American Family
Counsel: ACLU Foundation; ACLU Foundation of Minnesota; Robins Kaplan LLP