On Nov. 27, the federal District of Columbia ruled on DHS’s withholding of records under FOIA exemptions. The American Immigration Council submitted a FOIA request to DHS. In response, DHS released two pages. The American Immigration Council then filed the lawsuit.
In its complaint, the American Immigration Council stated, “CBP officers have prevented attorneys from accompanying their clients during inspections, limited the scope of representation, refused to accept supporting documentation proffered by attorneys, and actively dissuaded noncitizens from hiring attorneys.”
The Court ruled that DHS must submit a new affidavit to demonstrate the adequacy of USCIS’ search, and must release 2/3 of the records withheld.
The Court stated,
“After sitting on a fairly standard Freedom of Information Act request by plaintiff American Immigration Council for almost a year, defendant U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (a component of the Department of Homeland Security, the other defendant) produced a response riddled with errors.”
“After in camera review, the court concludes that two-thirds of the withheld records contested by the Council should have been largely or wholly released.”
“FOIA cases count on agencies to do their jobs with reasonable diligence. USCIS must do better.”