On October 31, 2017, Anthonia Nwaorie, a registered nurse and grandmother from Katy, Texas, experienced a real-life Halloween horror story at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), when Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized all of her money as she was boarding an international flight. Anthonia, a U.S. citizen, was traveling with over $40,000 on a trip to her home country of Nigeria. Some of the cash was for family members, but most of it was money she had saved to start a medical clinic for women and children with limited access to health care.
Anthonia is teaming up with the Institute for Justice (IJ) to file a federal class action lawsuit to stop CBP from bullying people like her into signing away their constitutional rights. CBP’s behavior violates the federal forfeiture statute and due process of law. IJ is asking the federal court to stop this practice, void any hold harmless agreements signed by class members, and order CBP to return seized property to any class member—including Anthonia—whose property was withheld because they declined to sign an agreement surrendering their constitutional rights.