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Groups Sue for Information on Targeting of Migrants from Muslim-Majority Countries at Southern Border

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Posted: Mar. 6, 2024

For Immediate Release
March 6, 2024

Arianna Alston-Rosales,
Nora Olabi,

Washington, DC – This morning, the National Immigration Project and Muslim Advocates filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) against the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for their failure to produce records reflecting the national origin and the prosecution and sentencing outcomes of individuals charged with unauthorized entry and re-entry in the Western District of Texas (Del Rio) starting on January 1, 2021.

Recent reporting by the Los Angeles Times raised concern about the EUOSA’s Del Rio Office’s specific practices. For an 18-month period beginning in October 2021, the US attorney’s office in Del Rio charged more than 200 migrants with violating federal law that criminalizes migrants who don’t enter the US at a checkpoint and present themselves to a customs office to report their entry. More than 60% of the individuals charged were from Muslim-majority countries, including Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, and Mali.

The Los Angeles Times also found court records showing that two migrants were held longer than the maximum sentence of a year, and more than a dozen have sentencing dates scheduled that will violate that maximum, as well.

Transparency into these disturbing trends is critical—in light of the racist history and application of laws criminalizing migrants and the extensive and specific targeting of people from Muslim-majority countries, as the complaint describes.

Khaled Alrabe, Senior Staff Attorney at the National Immigration Project, said:

“Any policy targeting a person based on their religion or nationality is a matter of significant public concern. At this moment, as we continue witnessing the increased mistreatment and dehumanization of migrants arriving at our Southern border, transparency around any possible discriminatory policies is especially critical.”

Golnaz Fakhimi, Legal Director at Muslim Advocates, said: 

“Discrimination lurks in prosecutorial discretion. Our communities demand transparency and accountability for the targeting they face at the southern border—which fits into a much larger pattern of racist criminalization and border enforcement.”

Read the FOIA complaint here.


The National Immigration Project (NIPNLG) is a membership organization of attorneys, advocates, and community members who are driven by the belief that all people should be treated with dignity, live freely, and flourish. We litigate, advocate, educate, and build bridges across movements to ensure that those most impacted by the immigration and criminal systems are uplifted and supported. Learn more at Follow NIPNLG on Facebook, X, and Instagram at @NIPNLG.

Muslim Advocates is a national social-justice, legal-advocacy, and educational organization that works with and for Muslim and other historically marginalized communities to build community power, fight systemic oppression, and demand shared well-being. Follow Muslim Advocates on Facebook, X, and Instagram.