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CBP Violated American Pastor's First Amendment Rights

March 26, 2023 (1 min read)

Dousa v. DHS

"In late 2018, Pastor Dousa, through New Sanctuary, was involved in organizing a ‘Sanctuary Caravan’ of faith leaders, congregants, and humanitarian workers to Tijuana to provide pastoral services and support to migrants in the Migrant Caravan. ... Dousa was detained and interviewed by Burnett and CBP Agent 1 regarding her ministry to members of the migrant caravan. ... According to Dousa, these events have “changed [her] life” and “the way that [she] do[es her] ministry.” ... She no longer travels to Mexico, meaning she can no longer offer a “ministry of presence.” ... As for her ministry in the United States, Dousa no longer feels comfortable officiating marriages for non-U.S. citizens. ... Finally, regarding her ministry to U.S. citizens, after these events took place, Dousa’s congregants worried that they might become “targets of the U.S. government.” ... Dousa has established that the CBP retaliated against her in violation of her First Amendment rights. ... Dousa therefore has established that the CBP violated her Free Exercise rights by restricting her ability to minister to migrants in Mexico. ... Court concludes that Plaintiff has established that the CBP violated the RFRA when Oliveri emailed the Mexican government on December 10, 2018 ... Pursuant to the EAJA, the Court AWARDS Dousa her reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees as the prevailing party in this case."

[Hats off to R. Stanton Jones, Christian D. Sheehan, William Perdue, Oscar Ramallo, Ada Añon, Leah Harrell and Rachel A. Carpman of Arnold & Porter, and Christine Kwon, Stephanie Llanes, Anne Tindall, Genevieve Nadeau and Ben Berwick of Protect Democracy!]