Is the Freedom of Information Act One of Our Least Respected Laws?

When Barack Obama was first inaugurated, he promised that his administration would “usher in an era of open government.” Instead, requests for documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) are increasingly being challenged or ignored by federal agencies.

The Border Patrol is one of the latest agencies to deny requests for information. University of Arizona law professors Derek Bambauer and Jane Yakowitz Bambauer requested documents from the agency on its “interior enforcement operations in Tucson and Yuma Sectors, including relevant agency policies, stop data, and complaint records.” The Bambauers are looking into the Border Patrol’s inland checkpoints, at which innocent American citizens are sometimes held and searched more than 100 miles from the border. They say the agency disregards its internal rules and Fourth Amendment rights with drug searches on flimsy pretexts.

The Border Patrol ignored the Bambauers’ requests. The law professors then filed a lawsuit against the agency and the Department of Homeland Security for the information. “We shouldn't have to go as far as filing a lawsuit to get these records,” Professor Bambauer said in a statement. Continue>>>