The American law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is suing U.S. Customs and Border Protection over the organization’s failure to properly disclose documents regarding lifetime bans given to Canadians and others working in the legal cannabis industry, The Vancouver Star reports.
Former U.S. Attorney and current law firm partner John McKay said that while U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have the ability to question travelers about nearly any subject, there is no obvious legal authority for the agency to hand out lifetime bans.
“I want to know what their authority is to ban people or to threaten to ban people and to cause fear among law-abiding Canadians who want to enter the United States.” — John McKay, via The Vancouver Star
The suit brought claims that the CBP has withheld documents requested by the law firm that should be available under the Freedom of Information Act. The law firm requested the documents but the CBP did not provide them by the deadline set in the Act and did not communicate about possible extensions or other legal recourse regarding the lack of disclosure.
If the Department of Homeland Security has provided a directive to the CBP to provide lifetime bans, the bans may be legal and there would be no legal recourse for the law firm. The information is not yet public, however, so it’s unclear who — if anyone — ordered the lifetime bans. If it is solely a CBP decision, the bans may not be valid.
The CBP refused to issue an official comment on the issue.
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