Five journalists have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, stating that they were "impermissibly compelled to disclose information" about their work when re-entering the country.
The suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Wednesday and further alleges that border authorities violated the journalists' First Amendment rights by inspecting "cameras and notebooks" and "questioning them extensively" over coverage of a 2018 migrant caravan, per the Associated Press.
The five journalists in question, all U.S. citizens, were named and picture in a Homeland Security dossier of caravan-linked journalists, organizers, and so-called "instigators." As the ACLU explained in a press release Thursday, the journalists were reporting on conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border and were targeted "on multiple separate occasions in 2018 and 2019" for secondary border screenings.
"A core principle of our democracy is the freedom of the press," Esha Bhandari—staff attorney with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project—said Thursday. "That freedom is imperiled when the government uses the pretext of border screening to interrogate journalists who were simply doing their jobs."
Now the journalists and the ACLU are asking the court to order the government to delete "all records" that are obtained through these "unlawful" interrogation methods.