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Nevada ACLU asks DHS to spell out travel ban details

Nevada ACLU asks DHS to spell out travel ban details. 4/12/17 (Jeff Gillan | KSNV)

The Nevada chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has joined with other ACLU chapters to sue the federal government over President Trump’s controversial and stalled travel ban.

The President’s first executive order, issued just a week after taking office, restricted entry to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. A March 6th revision removed Iraq from the list and tailored other aspects of the order to pass legal review, although the ban remains tied up in federal court.

Attorneys General in Democratic-leaning states sued, saying the order effectively amounts to an unconstitutional ban on religion.

The ACLU’s action, announced Wednesday, targets the Department of Homeland Security and US Customs and Border Protection. It is suing after the agencies, it says, did not respond to earlier requests for information.

“We asked them for the documents. They didn't respond, at all. So now we're suing them to say give us the federal documents you have to give us under the federal FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) laws,” said Amy Rose, the Legal Director of the Nevada ACLU Chapter.

What the ACLU wants to know is how were the bans implemented? How many people were detained? Is anyone still being held?

“They’re still refusing to be transparent. They owe the people an explanation about how they were implementing this, what guidance they were using,” Rose told me. “I think what we suspect is there probably wasn’t any guidance.”

When the first ban was announced on January 27th, chaos quickly ensued at major airports around the nation as DHS and Border Protection agents grappled with the new order from Washington.

“What was going on was really haphazard, kind of reckless with the way that they had tried to implement a very vast and important executive order that had an impact on thousands of people,” said Rose.

Two Las Vegas area couples were caught up...including an elderly couple of Syrian descent...questioned for hours, activists say, on a layover heading back home.

“They were sitting there, not knowing why they were there,” a relative told News 3 in January.

The White House says the ban is necessary to keep the country safe. It says the revised order, which covers Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, targets only those countries with lax security.

Contacted by News 3, Homeland Security told me "as a matter of policy, we do not comment on pending litigation".

The final say will come from the US Supreme Court, which is widely expected to get the case and issue a ruling.

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