Volunteer lawyers greet a traveler at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in February (Star Tribune photo by David Joles)
In February I wrote about my effort to find out whether any Minnesota-bound travelers were detained as a result of President Trump's travel ban. That information has been hard to come by, despite widespread public interest, and even a visit to the Customs and Border Protection office by an irritated U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Mankato (who's now running for governor). Walz said at the time that his office confirmed no travelers were detained at MSP, but I put in a Freedom of Information Act request to see the records.
Two days after my column was published, CBP denied my request, saying there were records, but releasing them would violate the privacy of individuals involved and jeopardize law enforcement proceedings. I appealed that denial, and got my answer Friday. This time, CBP actually checked. "We reached out to the Ports in Minnesota and were advised that there were no responsive records to your request." The FOIA Division was incorrect, the agency said.
Still, their response holds out the possibility that a traveler bound for Minnesota was detained at some other port of entry. Perhaps the coordinated FOIA lawsuits filed by the ACLU earlier this week will answer that question.