[JURIST] Two civil rights organizations filed a complaint [PDF text; press release] Thursday against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [official website] in federal district court in San Francisco, alleging that DHS failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding department policies on questioning and searching travelers returning to the United States from overseas. The Asian Law Caucus and the Electronic Frontier Foundation [advocacy websites] filed the FOIA request after receiving more than 20 complaints in the past year from mostly South Asians and Muslims who say they were detained and questioned at US borders.
The advocacy groups want to know what policies DHS has in place to guide customs officials in choosing which travelers to question, and whether race plays a role in that decision. The groups also want information on DHS policies behind asking travelers questions about their politics or religion, as well as policies allowing searches of electronic devices belonging to the traveler. The San Francisco Chronicle has more.