Mohanad Elshieky v. United States of America, No. 2:20-cv-00064 (E.D. Wash., filed Feb. 14, 2020)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials unlawfully seized and detained Mr. Elshieky, an asylum recipient lawfully present in the United States, aboard a Greyhound bus in January 2019. Shortly after Mr. Elshieky boarded a Greyhound bus in Spokane, Washington, CBP officials entered the bus and began questioning and detaining people of color. A CBP official approached Mr. Elshieky and asked him to produce identification and to confirm his citizenship status. When Mr. Elshieky presented his valid Oregon driver’s license and valid USCIS employment authorization card, officers ordered him off the bus. Although Mr. Elshieky explained his immigration status—that he had been granted asylum recently—the officers accused him of possessing a forged employment authorization card and refused to believe him, saying “we’ve heard all this before” and “illegals say that all the time.” The officials continued to detain him and accused him of being unlawfully present as they confirmed his immigration status.
Mr. Elshieky filed an administrative complaint under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) on April 25, 2019, seeking $250,000 in damages for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment. CBP issued a final disposition denying the claim on September 11, 2019. On February 14, 2020, Mr. Elshieky filed a complaint in federal district court under the FTCA. On June 23, 2020, the court denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss Mr. Elshieky’s claim of discrimination under the Washington Law Against Discrimination.
After the court denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss as to Mr. Elshieky’s discrimination claim, Defendants filed their answer. Discovery is now beginning, and a bench trial has been postponed due to the pandemic. After a bench trial was postponed due to the pandemic, the case was referred to mediation and all deadlines were vacated. In March 2021, the government reached a settlement with Mr. Elshieky which included an award for damages.
- Administrative FTCA Complaint
- Motion to Dismiss
- Opposition to Motion to Dismiss
- Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss
- Order Denying Motion to Dismiss
Counsel: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project | American Civil Liberties Union of Washington | Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Contact: Matt Adams | 206-957-8611 | Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
Lisa Nowlin | 206-624-2184 | ACLU Washington