ACLU v. Department of Homeland Security



The incidence of civil rights violations associated with Border Patrol’s enforcement operations beyond the actual border and into the interior of the U.S.—including interior checkpoints and “roving patrol” stops, is a matter of growing public concern. In Southern California, Border Patrol agents operate in a number of metropolitan and rural areas at great distances from the U.S.-Mexico border.

There is little publicity about the extent or impact of Border Patrol’s roving patrol operations, or its agents’ respect for limitations on their authority.


In July 2014, the San Diego ACLU’s Border Litigation Project, along with the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and the University of California, Irvine School of Law’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to both the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection seeking records related to “roving patrol” operations in the San Diego and El Centro sectors.

The agencies failed to respond as required. We then filed a lawsuit in the Central District of California in February 2015.

Following court orders and pressure from plaintiffs, CBP finally completed its production of responsive documents on November 10, 2015.

We expect to litigate cross-motions for summary judgment in early 2016 to determine whether CBP has unlawfully withheld any documents or information.


Co-counsel in this case include the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, and the University of California, Irvine School of Law—Immigrant Rights Clinic.