Reyes v. United States, DOE CBP Officers 1-30

Reyes v. United States, DOE CBP Officers 1-30, No. 3:20-cv-01752 (S.D. Cal., filed Sept. 8, 2020)

On August 2, 2018, Marco Reyes was waiting in his car to cross into the United States at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in California. Due to an incident in another vehicle lane, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer knocked at Reyes’ car window and asked him to step out of the car. Reyes, who suffered from significant hearing loss from military service, did not immediately hear the officer or comply with his commands. When Reyes realized the officer was speaking to him, he immediately got out of the car and stood behind his vehicle. The CBP officer then began to yell profanities at Reyes and bumped him with his chest, accusing him of not immediately following directions. When Reyes raised his hand to keep the officer from bumping into him, the officer accused him of assault and called for back-up assistance. A larger group of CBP officers arrived, pushed Reyes to the ground, and proceeded to beat him up while he was on the ground, injuring his shoulder and arm and breaking several ribs. After beating Reyes up, the officers arrested him for assault on a federal officer. The U.S. Attorney’s office declined to pursue prosecution of Reyes.

On September 8, 2020, Reyes filed this action, alleging violations of his rights under California’s Bane Act, the federal Rehabilitation Act, and the Federal Tort Claims Act. On February 16, 2021, the district court dismissed Reyes’ Bane Act claims and Rehabilitation Act claims without prejudice and with leave to file an amended complaint. The court also dismissed on consent the FTCA claims against the individual CBP officers.

Reyes proceeded to file two amended complaints. The case settled and was dismissed pursuant to a joint motion to dismiss on January 11, 2022.

Documents:

Counsel: McKenzie Scott, P.C.
Contact: Timothy Scott | tscott@mckenziescott.com

Center for Democracy & Technology v. Department of Homeland Security

Center for Democracy & Technology v. Department of Homeland Security, et al., 1:21-cv-134 (D.D.C., filed Jan. 15, 2021)

In 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a plan to implement “Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness Initiatives,” which were designed to collect, analyze, and disseminate social media content. DHS has since significantly expanded its collection and monitoring of social media information, using that information to inform who may travel to, enter, and remain in the United States, as well as decisions about naturalization.

In August and September 2019, the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) submitted a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requesting documents and training materials related to the collection and use of First Amendment protected activity on social media. On January 15, 2021, CDT filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to compel DHS, CBP, and ICE to immediately process its FOIA requests and disclose all non-exempt documents to CDT. Defendants filed their answer on March 11, 2021, and the parties filed periodic status reports as Defendants produced documents responsive to the FOIA requests. The parties stipulated to dismiss the case on June 21, 2022.

Documents:

Counsel: Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP

Contact: David M. Gossett, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP | davidgossett@dwt.com

Lovell v. United States

Lovell v. United States of America, No. 1:18-cv-01867 (E.D.N.Y., filed Mar. 28, 2018)

On November 27, 2016, Tameika Lovell was returning from Jamaica and traveling through John F. Kennedy Airport when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) officers selected her for a “random search.” Officers took her to a secured area and conducted a physically invasive and traumatic search of her body, including a body cavity search, for which she later sought medical and psychological treatment.

Ms. Lovell filed a federal tort claim with CBP on May 10, 2017, but it was subsequently denied. On March 28, 2018, Ms. Lovell filed this action seeking damages under Bivens and alleging violations of her Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. The complaint alleges that CBP’s search of Ms. Lovell was carried out in in violation of the Fourth Amendment and was conduct that “shocked the conscience” in violation of the Fifth Amendment. She further alleges that the search was not random but instead based on her race, and that CBP unlawfully singles out females and persons of color for searches. Furthermore, Ms. Lovell alleges that the United States and CBP condone employees’ intentional violations of the National Standards on Transportation, Escort, Detention, and Search, the agency’s written standards for searches. Ms. Lovell seeks compensatory and punitive damages against CBP.

On August 8, 2022, the court granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment in its entirety on the basis that the Supreme Court’s decision in Egbert v. Boule foreclosed Ms. Lovell’s Bivens action against the named CBP officers. Alternatively, the court held that that the officers would be entitled to qualified immunity for their actions.

Press Coverage:

Counsel: The Sanders Firm, P.C.
Contact: Eric Sanders | 212-652-2782

American Immigration Lawyers Association v. DHS, et al.

American Immigration Lawyers Association v. DHS, et al., No. 1:16-cv-02470 (D.D.C. filed Dec. 19, 2016)

On July 10, 2013, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), submitted a FOIA request to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), seeking records relating to the issuance and implementation of the Officers’ Resource Tool (ORT) and how it has come to replace the Inspector’s Field Manual (IFM). The ORT replaced the IFM, which previously provided guidance regarding the inspection and admission of individuals into the United States at U.S. ports of entry. CBP failed to produce any responsive records and did not respond to AILA’s administrative appeal.

In December 2016, the American Immigration Council, in cooperation with Foley and Lardner, LLP, filed the lawsuit on AILA’s behalf seeking to compel CBP to release the ORT. On June 7, 2017, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court denied on March 30, 2018. After continued delays in production, the plaintiffs filed a second motion for summary judgment in December 2018. The court denied that motion without prejudice,  but ordered the government to produce documents by May 31, 2019.

In November 2019, Defendants filed a renewed motion for summary judgment, and in January 2020, Plaintiffs filed their opposition, as well as a cross-motion for summary judgment. On March 10, 2020, Defendants filed their reply to Plaintiffs’ opposition and their opposition to Plaintiffs’ cross-motion for summary judgment. On July 22, 2020, the district court ordered additional, unredacted production from Defendants. On April 30, 2021, the parties stipulated to dismiss the case.

Counsel: Emily Creighton | American Immigration Council | ecreighton@immcouncil.org
Kristin Macleod-Ball | American Immigration Council | kmacleod-ball@immcouncil.org
Naikang Tsao | Foley & Lardner LLP | ntsao@foley.com