Sabra v. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, No. 1:20-cv-00681-CKK (D.D.C., filed Mar. 9, 2020)
On September 11, 2015, Fleta Christina Cousin Sabra—a U.S. citizen and accredited humanitarian worker—traveled with a family of asylum-seeking Syrian refugees and the refugees’ lawful permanent resident relative from Mexico into the United States by way of a U.S. port of entry in Southern California. When Ms. Sabra explained to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) officer that the family wished to seek asylum, the officer handcuffed all members of the group, including Ms. Sabra. CBP officers detained Ms. Sabra for several hours, during which time they insulted her Muslim faith, pulled off her hijab, and physically assaulted her.
In July 2016, Ms. Sabra submitted a request for agency records pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regarding the September 11, 2015 encounter, CBP’s subsequent related records, CBP’s investigation, communications regarding the family of Syrian refugees, and other CBP records regarding Ms. Sabra. In response, CBP produced only five pages of records.
Ms. Sabra filed this action on March 9, 2020, seeking to compel CBP to conduct a reasonable search and produce records responsive to her FOIA request. On May 29, 2020, CBP made an initial production and reported that it anticipates making monthly, rolling releases. Ms. Sabra moved for judgment on the pleadings. CBP made additional productions in June, July, and August of 2020. The court denied Ms. Sabra’s motion on March 2, 2021. On March 10, 2021, the government moved for summary judgment and briefing was completed on May 5, 2021.
On March 14, 2022, the district court denied CBP’s motion for summary judgment without prejudice, holding that the agency had not established that it had conducted an adequate search for records responsive to Ms. Sabra’s request. CBP filed a renewed motion for summary judgment in June 2022. As of November 2022, the motion is fully briefed and a decision is pending from the court.
- May 2020 Production
- Order Denying Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
- Government Motion for Summary Judgment
- Plaintiff’s Opposition to Government Motion for Summary Judgment
- Government’s Reply in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
- Order Denying Government’s Motion for Summary Judgment (without prejudice)
- Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment
Counsel: Law Office of R. Andrew Free
Contact: R. Andrew Free | (844) 321-3221 | Andrew@ImmigrantCivilRights.com