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US Migrant activists sue Trump administration over surveillance, harassment at border

02:55  17 october  2019
02:55  17 october  2019 Source:   azcentral.com

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The ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of three migrant advocates who claim the U.S. government targeted and harassed them because of their border work. If you see comments in violation of our community guidelines, please report them. Migrant activists sue Trump administration over surveillance

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TUCSON — The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Tucson on behalf of three migrant activists, all U.S. citizens, who accuse President Donald Trump's administration of surveilling and harassing them because they work with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona and California.

Two of the activists, Alex Mensing and Jeff Valenzuela, are members of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, an advocacy group that helped organize several migrant caravans through Mexico, on their way to the U.S. border to claim asylum. The caravans drew Trump's ire, especially as the largest one reached Tijuana in November 2018.

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The third plaintiff is Ana Adlerstein, a reporter and humanitarian aid volunteer based in Ajo, a small community in southwestern Arizona about 40 miles north of the border. Her recent work has focused mainly on covering "the challenges asylum seekers and humanitarian actors face in Southern Arizona," according to the complaint.

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The lawsuit alleges that the federal government — specifically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the FBI — "unlawfully surveils and seizes United States citizen activists at the border."

The ACLU lists in the complaint several leaked government memos as proof that the Trump administration had been monitoring the work of migrant advocacy groups along the border. It cited a "secret database" ICE compiled of advocates and reporters in connection to the 10,000-member caravan that arrived to Tijuana in November.

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Central American migrants who are part of the caravan traveling toward the U.S.-Mexico border have filed a class action lawsuit against President Trump , Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other members of the ad.

The lawsuit asks for an injunction that orders the U.S. government to "cease their suspicionless detentions, arrests, interrogations, and physical restraints of Plaintiffs at the border" and to expunge all records and information gathered on the activists.

The Arizona Republic has reached out to CBP, ICE and the FBI for comment.

The FBI declined to comment because the lawsuit is pending. The other two agencies have not responded.

Have any news tips or story ideas about the U.S.-Mexico border? Reach the reporter at rafael.carranza@arizonarepublic.com, or follow him on Twitter at @RafaelCarranza.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Migrant activists sue Trump administration over surveillance, harassment at border

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