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News - 2019

Mar. 2019

Firm and ACLU file FOIA suit seeking information on border wall 'contract'

Alycia Kennedy and Max D. Stern and the ACLU of Massachusetts have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Massachusetts seeking information regarding a purported contract for a portion of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The contract was announced by President Trump on Dec. 24, 2018, two days after the partial shutdown of the federal government began.  On Twitter, the president stated that he “just gave out a 115 mile long [sic] contract for another large section of the Wall in Texas.”

However, the announcement did not indicate the source of funding for the contract, the procedure by which it was awarded, or the scope of the contracted project.

As a result, the ACLU, in a public records request under the Freedom of Information Act, requested the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to provide the contract and related documents, including requests for proposals, documentation of selection, purchase orders, invoices, and studies of cost, effectiveness and/or environmental impact.

The DHS and CBP have failed to comply with public records request, prompting the FOIA lawsuit.

The ACLU also submitted a public records request to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is involved in federal contracting for the construction of physical barriers at the U.S.-Mexico border.  The agency conceded that it has no records concerning the contract in the President’s announcement.