U.S. Customs and Border Protection has admitted that its organization of flights for hundreds of thousands of foreigners from external airports to the U.S. has resulted in “operational vulnerabilities” that could present a threat to border enforcement efforts should data on the flights become public.

In a joint filing with the U.S. Center for Immigration Studies, CBP has justified its refusal to provide data about the traffic from specific foreign airports to specific U.S. facilities by citing the potential for risk should the material become public. CIS has sought the data as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

In the filing, CBP cited a specific exemption to FOIA requests, stating that it redacted relevant data “to protect the identifying information for air ports of entry, which if disclosed, would reveal information about the relative number of individuals arriving, and thus resources expended, at particular airports of entry which would, either standing alone or combined with other information, reveal operational vulnerabilities that could be exploited.”

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