The ACLU filed a lawsuit Wednesday against President Donald Trump’s executive order that requires the government to retain a database of the names of Americans it suspects of having engaged in terrorist activity, arguing that it violates the rights of privacy by preventing law enforcement from sharing information with other government agencies.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, said it is joining the lawsuit, which was filed by attorney William Binney, who argued in a filing that the order violates the Constitution’s First Amendment.
“It is time to restore the Fourth Amendment to its proper role, and to provide Congress with the tools it needs to restore that right,” Binney said in a statement.
“The order is unconstitutional and violates the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, as well as other provisions of the law.”
The ACLU said in its filing that Trump’s order could violate the privacy of nearly 1.3 million people in the United States and that it could cause “grave harm to the rights to due process, equal protection, and due process of law, including to millions of innocent Americans.”
In a statement, the White House said that the administration is reviewing the lawsuit.
“The executive order signed today will continue to address the critical need for an efficient and effective federal counterterrorism and national security system,” the statement said.
“We continue to consult closely with key stakeholders on the matter and will respond in due course.”
The order, which Trump signed on Friday, requires federal agencies to retain the names, social security numbers, and other biometric information of American citizens suspected of terrorism offenses, as part of a “terrorist watch list.”
The White House had already acknowledged that Trump signed the order before Congress and said it was based on an “analysis of the facts.”
“This is the administration’s interpretation of the fact that the President signed an executive order without first consulting with Congress and that is incorrect,” the White of House said.
The government, however, has denied the ACLU’s claims, saying it is merely following established law.
The White of White House and the Department of Homeland Security both have said that Congress has given the executive branch broad authority to protect Americans from terrorist threats.
The order was part of the broader order on immigration that Trump took executive action on Friday to end a three-year-old Obama-era program that requires immigrants to wait two years before they are allowed to apply for legal permanent residency, which is known as green card.