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) agents unlawfully seized and detained Mr. Elshieky, an asylum recipient lawfully present in the United States, aboard a Greyhound Bus in January 2019. Mr. Elshieky filed an administrative complaint under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) on April 25, 2019. 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.
In January of 2019, shortly after Mr. Elshieky boarded a Greyhound bus in Spokane, Washington, CBP officers entered the bus and began questioning and detaining people of color. A CBP agent 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 officers continued to detain him and accuse him of being unlawfully present as they confirmed his immigration status.
Mr. Elshieky sought $250,000 in damages in his initial FTCA administrative complaint for false arrest and false imprisonment.
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