AAN is one of more than 100 civil liberties organizations who’ve joined a letter to the Department of Homeland security which protests the department’s surveillance of journalists reporting on asylum seekers at the country’s ports of entry, as well as activists and lawyers assisting those individuals. The letter to the DHS was drafted by the Center for Democracy and Technology and makes the following demands to DHS:
- Cease the targeting and monitoring of activists, journalists and lawyers unless there is strong evidence that the individual in question is involved in an immigration or criminal violation;
- Cease searching and detaining electronic devices at the border;
- Take steps to ensure that any actions are not politically-motivated retaliation;
- Have the DHS Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Office and the DHS Privacy Office investigate the targeting and monitoring;
- Disclose the guidelines, handbooks and criteria that govern this conduct;
- Disclose any training materials provide to ICE and CBP investigators, especially where they affect First Amendment protections;
- Disclose CBP policies governing encounters with journalists (which were referenced by CBP spokesman Andrew Meehan in a March 7 statement);
- Disclose any policies related to treatment of journalists and lawyers by CBP and ICE;
- Disclose whether DHS communicated with foreign governments about activists, journalists and lawyers in order to restrict their travel; and
- Disclose the categories of information DHS shared with foreign governments about activists, journalists and lawyers.
A meeting to further discuss these issues has been requested with the Department of Homeland Security; follow AAN on social @altweeklies for updates on this and other legal matters.