University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Adlerstein v. U.S. Customs and Border Protection IM-AZ-0029
Docket / Court 4:19-cv-00500-CJK ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization ACLU of Southern California
Case Summary
This case involves the effects of the Trump administration’s efforts to increase scrutiny of private United States citizens working on behalf of migrants and refugees along the U.S.-Mexico border. On October 16, 2019, the plaintiffs, three humanitarian activists, filed a complaint in the U.S ... read more >
This case involves the effects of the Trump administration’s efforts to increase scrutiny of private United States citizens working on behalf of migrants and refugees along the U.S.-Mexico border. On October 16, 2019, the plaintiffs, three humanitarian activists, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), the FBI, and each of their respective directors in their official capacities. The plaintiffs alleged violations of their First and Fourth Amendment rights as well as violations of the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a. They sought injunctive and compensatory relief in addition to a declaratory judgment. The plaintiffs were represented by the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendants unlawfully detained, investigated, interrogated, surveilled, and collected information about them in absence of any reasonable criminal activity, and solely because the Trump administration was targeting individuals involved in humanitarian efforts to help migrants and refugees in the United States and Mexico.

For example, one plaintiff, a journalist whose work focused on international human rights, migration, and refugees, was detained at the Arizona border as she accompanied a migrant presenting an asylum claim. This plaintiff was held in a cold, windowless cell for four hours, and was told by a border official that “[t]he Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply here.” Another plaintiff, a photographer, was shackled to a bench for hours by border officials, after which he was interrogated about his volunteer work and political beliefs. The last plaintiff was referred for secondary inspection on twenty-six of his twenty-eight times crossing from Mexico into the U.S., and was repeatedly detained, searched, and interrogated, even though there was no indication of criminal activity on his part.

As of February 7, 2020, there defendant had not answered the complaint and the case was ongoing.

Emma Siskin - 02/07/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Over/Unlawful Detention
Immigration/Border
Border police
Constitutional rights
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Defendant(s) U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement; Federal Bureau of Investigations
Plaintiff Description Three private U.S. citizens who are humanitarian activists working on behalf of migrants and refugees along the U.S.-Mexico border
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU of Southern California
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
4:19-cv-500 (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0029-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-AZ-0029-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/16/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Jorgenson, Cindy K. (D. Ariz.) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0029-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Arulanantham, Ahilan T (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0029-9000
Brizgys, Molly Patricia (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0029-9000
Lieberman, Martin (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0029-0001 | IM-AZ-0029-9000
Pilmer, Robert Alexander (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0029-9000
Tajsar, Mohammad K. (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0029-9000
Wee, Christine Keeyeh (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0029-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Norway, Robert Mark (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0029-9000

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