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CBP Metering FOIA Victory in PA: Hoffman v. CBP

June 29, 2023 (1 min read)

Andrew Free writes: "Judge Anita Brody of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued an order denying CBP’s motion for summary judgment on search adequacy, and granting in part Plaintiff Karen Hoffmann’s motion for summary judgment as to search adequacy.

The Court entered an injunction requiring CBP to task supplemental searches, and supplement agency declarations about its efforts to search the devices of Eagle Pass, Texas Port Director Paul Del Rincon and Assistant Port Director Pete Macias. Rincon’s phone data containing potentially responsive messages was allegedly wiped clean when he exchanged devices. Macias’s device is missing. “Lost,” the court recounts, “to the sands of time.” 
CBP must provide detailed explanations from competent technology professionals explaining the agency’s steps to address the destruction of potentially responsive records AFTER Karen filed her FOIA request. 

More analysis to come soon. 
This decision may interest you if you’re working on: 
1. CBP metering / asylum lists. 
2. Border cruelty and violence of externalized policies. 
3. FOIA search adequacy in the age of rapid technological advancement 
4. WhatsApp searches
5. Potential approaches to Federal Records Act violations uncovered during FOIA.
Lots of great cases with names of friends and colleagues on this list being cited. Thanks to everyone who made that good precedent. 
DocumentCloud Hoffmann-Miller FOIA Collective Archive:
Happy FOIA’ing! 
Andrew Free
#DetentionKillsTransparency Initiative 
Al Otro Lado"