By Alyssa Eng
BROOKLYN, NY – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York has ordered Customs and Border Protection to disclose information about its secret “Tactical Terrorism Response Teams” which have been in operation since 2016.
These teams are deployed at 40+ airports as well as other points of entry into the country to target, detain, and interrogate travelers. CBP has indicated these teams target travelers who have not been identified as security risks by the government, and may target individuals based on hunches.
The ACLU identifies multiple potential problems with these teams relying on instinct.
Instinctual targeting “creates the risk that these secretive teams are targeting travelers based on explicit or implicit biases,” said the ACLU, noting targeting individuals based on their race, religion, or ethnicity falls under unlawful profiling.
Additionally, the ACLU added, it “may also result in officers detaining and questioning travelers because of their speech or associations, which may be protected by the First Amendment.”
Lastly, the ACLU said these teams’ methods “raise due process and fairness concerns when information inappropriately gathered by them results in further government scrutiny.”
This order to turn over information is owed to the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU and CUNY CLEAR CLINIC back in 2019.