Immigration Law

Recent Posts

How the BIA Works
Posted on 25 Apr 2019 by Daniel M. Kowalski

See attorney Matthew Hoppock's Twitter feed and his blog for the results of his FOIA requests revealing fascinating internal BIA documents. Read More

Tags: bia , hoppock , FOIA

New FOIA Release - Butler County ICE Detainees Paid in Coffee Packets, ICE Punishes Hunger Strikers in Tacoma
Posted on 27 Mar 2019 by Daniel M. Kowalski

Prof. Jacqueline Stevens, Mar. 25, 2019 "Attorneys have been suing private prisons for their exploitation of people in custody under immigration laws, a phenomenon that has been receiving increasing coverage by the mainstream media . But county... Read More

Pro Se Attorneys Ineligible for Fee Awards Under FOIA - Gahagan v. USCIS (CA5)
Posted on 27 Dec 2018 by Daniel M. Kowalski

Gahagan v. USCIS - "The question presented is whether attorneys appearing pro se can recover fees under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). The district court held no. We affirm." Read More

Tags: fees , FOIA , USCIS , pro se

Did the BIA Edit the Attorney General’s Decision in Matter of Castro-Tum? If So, Does it Matter?
Posted on 2 Nov 2018 by Daniel M. Kowalski

Matthew Hoppock, Nov. 2, 2018 - "A series of FOIA requests regarding the Attorney General’s decision in Matter of Castro-Tum seem to have revealed something strange about that decision: it was edited after the Attorney General issued it. ... Read More

D.C. Attorney General Sues ICE for Answers About Immigration Crackdowns
Posted on 23 Oct 2018 by Daniel M. Kowalski

D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine , Oct. 22, 2018 - "Attorney General Karl A. Racine today filed a lawsuit seeking to force U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to provide answers about recent ICE enforcement actions in the... Read More

'FOIA Requests Are Not a Game of Battleship' - GAP v. DHS
Posted on 15 Oct 2018 by Daniel M. Kowalski

GAP v. DHS - "FOIA requests are not a game of Battleship. The requester should not have to score a direct hit on the records sought based on the precise phrasing of his request. Rather, the agency must liberally interpret the request and frame its... Read More

Tags: FOIA , DHS

DC Circ. on FOIA: Bayala v. DHS
Posted on 30 Jun 2016 by Daniel M. Kowalski

Bayala v. DHS, June 28, 2016 - "Florent Bayala filed a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) lawsuit when the Department of Homeland Security failed to disclose many of the immigration documents he had requested and gave no particularized... Read More

Tags: Cleveland , FOIA , bayala

DACA SOP (April 2013)
Posted on 3 Apr 2014 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"The National Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Forms I-821D and I-765, prepared by the Service Center Operations Directorate. Manual is dated April 4, 2013, version 2.0 and was provided to AIC... Read More

Tags: daca , sop , FOIA , nilc , aic

EAJA fee victory in FOIA litigation against CBP
Posted on 13 Feb 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

Navarro Hernandez v. CBP, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14290, Feb. 7, 2012 : "Plaintiff filed a FOIA request with CBP, seeking information related to the agency's immigration enforcement actions in the city of New Orleans generally, and specifically... Read More

Major FOIA Victory: Hajro & Mayock v. USCIS
Posted on 13 Oct 2011 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"Plaintiffs argue that the unlawful withholding of information underlying USCIS’s denial of Hajro’s naturalization application violated his fundamental due process rights to a fair hearing. Specifically, Plaintiffs contend that Hajro... Read More

Tags: mayock , Holder , FOIA , USCIS , hajro , dent

2011 ICE Directive on Detention Facility Tours
Posted on 2 Aug 2012 by Daniel M. Kowalski

"The purpose of this directive is to provide Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office Directors, or their supervisory designees, and field offices with policy, procedures, and forms to facilitate detention facility tours, visitation... Read More

Partial FOIA Victory - US District Court for the District of Columbia
Posted on 17 Sep 2014 by Daniel M. Kowalski

Sandra Grossman writes: "On September 9, 2014, after previously ordering in-camera review of withheld documents, Judge Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied Defendant USCIS's Motion for Summary Judgment in a case... Read More

FOIA Backlog Skyrockets at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Posted on 8 May 2017 by Daniel M. Kowalski

TRAC, May 8, 2017 - "The backlog of unprocessed FOIA requests to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continues to climb. In just a two-year period, the backlog of unanswered FOIA requests has tripled, climbing from 17,998 at the... Read More

Tags: backlog , FOIA , TRAC , USCIS

Gluckman v. DOL PERM FOIA Documents
Posted on 13 Apr 2014 by Daniel M. Kowalski

Jonathan L. Moore writes: "I wanted to follow up with you on this PERM FOIA litigation (prior post here ). As a reminder, I represent the plaintiff, David Gluckman, in the case. The Department of Labor has produced responsive documents , and David... Read More

Tags: perm , gluckman , FOIA

FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 Signed into Law
Posted on 1 Jul 2016 by Daniel M. Kowalski

DOJ, July 30, 2016 - "The FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 contains several substantive and procedural amendments to the FOIA, as well as new reporting requirements for agencies. In order to assist agencies in understanding all of the new changes to... Read More

Tags: FOIA
  • Blog Post: Major FOIA Victory: Hajro & Mayock v. USCIS

    "Plaintiffs argue that the unlawful withholding of information underlying USCIS’s denial of Hajro’s naturalization application violated his fundamental due process rights to a fair hearing. Specifically, Plaintiffs contend that Hajro has a constitutional right to see the evidence relied...
  • Blog Post: FOIA Victory; Secure Communities; NDLON et al. v. ICE et al.

    "Defendants are ordered to release the final version of the October 2 Memorandum, redacting only the final paragraph of page 3 and its accompanying footnote, which are covered by the deliberative process privilege. Defendants are also ordered to release all earlier drafts of the October 2 Memorandum...
  • Blog Post: Court: ICE must release 'S-Comm' memo

    "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement must turn over an internal memo that could reveal the agency's legal justification for mandating the so-called Secure Communities deportation program, a federal judge ruled. ... To "adopt a legal position while shielding from public view the...
  • Blog Post: FOIA Victory: NIP-NLG v. DHS

    "“Trust everybody, but cut the cards,” as the old saying goes. When the Solicitor General of the United States makes a representation to the Supreme Court, trustworthiness is presumed. Here, however, plaintiffs seek to determine whether one such representation was accurate or whether...
  • Blog Post: EAJA fee victory in FOIA litigation against CBP

    Navarro Hernandez v. CBP, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14290, Feb. 7, 2012 : "Plaintiff filed a FOIA request with CBP, seeking information related to the agency's immigration enforcement actions in the city of New Orleans generally, and specifically with respect to the January 12, 2010 incident during...
  • Blog Post: Press Release in National Immigration Project/NLG v. DHS - Re: New ICE "Policy"

    Washington Square Legal Services, Inc. 245 Sullivan Street, 5th Floor New York, New York 10012 Tel: 212-998-6430 Fax: 212-995-4031 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 9, 2012 Contact: Nancy Morawetz, 212-998-6451 nancy.morawetz@nyu.edu Jessica Chicco, 616-552-9261 jessica.chicco...
  • Blog Post: Five HUD Immigration Documents: FOIA

    LexisNexis editor and immigration law expert Stephen W. Yale-Loehr recently obtained documents from HUD pursuant to a FOIA request. Pages 10-17 are of particular interest to those following Arizona issues. Stephen W. Yale-Loehr
  • Blog Post: Major FOIA Victory: Permanent Injunction - Hajro v. USCIS

    "Having determined Defendant United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to be in violation of certain provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) for the reasons set forth in the court’s order of October 13, 2011 on cross-motions for summary...
  • Blog Post: AILA Prevails in H-1B FOIA Litigation

    "The reliability and fairness of our immigration system can be evaluated only if the government’s procedures and activities are transparent. The LAC regularly uses the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to increase transparency and promote accountability regarding DHS enforcement practices...
  • Blog Post: New Data Confirm DOJ’s Subpar FOIA Performance

    "A new analysis of FOIA cases filed in the U.S. District Courts reveals that fully 30 percent of all FOIA lawsuits filed last year were brought against the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ also accounted for a similar percentage of the FOIA administrative appeals that were filed by requesters...
  • Blog Post: NIJC Sues DHS re FOIA, Prosecutorial Discretion

    June 18, 2012: "Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) today sued the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice to demand the release of documents that would reveal the breakdown of the implementation of the Obama administration’s failed prosecutorial...
  • Blog Post: 2011 ICE Directive on Detention Facility Tours

    "The purpose of this directive is to provide Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office Directors, or their supervisory designees, and field offices with policy, procedures, and forms to facilitate detention facility tours, visitation, or tours with visitation (tour/visit) for non-governmental...
  • Blog Post: H-1B Usage Undercount: FOIA

    From Greg Siskind's blog on 9-21-12: "Attorney David Rubman in Chicago, Illinois has just shared with me the answer to a Freedom of Information Act request which definitively shows that USCIS has been undercounting H-1B usage by nearly 15% over the last five years. Approximately 45,000 too few...
  • Blog Post: My Great FOIA Adventure and Discoveries of Deferred Action Cases at ICE

    "This Article describes my adventures in FOIA litigation and analyzes deferred action data collected informally by 24 ICE field offices between October 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012. This Article also offers recommendations for the agency on data collection, recordkeeping, and transparency in deferred...
  • Blog Post: Narrow FOIA Victory Against DOS in D.C.

    "Section 1202(f) cannot be extended to cover materials unrelated to a visa issuance or denial simply because those documents are contained in a database among other documents that may pertain to visa issuances and denials. ... Here, the Department concedes that this case does not involve the issuance...
  • Blog Post: Morton Memo FOIA Lawsuit Ends in a Draw: Judicial Watch v. DHS

    "For all of the foregoing reasons, the Court shall GRANT-IN-PART and DENY-IN-PART DHS’s Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment and GRANT-IN-PART and DENY-IN-PART Judicial Watch’s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. Specifically, the Court shall grant DHS’s motion insofar as it seeks...
  • Blog Post: FOIA Request Reveals Internal Documents on DACA

    Prof. Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia writes: "In Fall 2012 I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request with DHS seeking records pertaining to the agency's implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, among other items. DHS provided me with a formal response on...
  • Blog Post: DOJ Releases IJ Ruling Calling for Removal of Salvadoran General Vides Casanova

    "This week, in response to a lawsuit filed by The New York Times and Julia Preston, the Department of Justice released the ruling of an immigration judge stating that Salvadoran Defense Minister Vides Casanova is subject to removal from the United States due to his participation in the torture of...
  • Blog Post: ICE’s FOIA Requests Piling Up

    "At Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) there has been a rapid rise in the backlog of FOIA requests received that have been waiting unanswered for long periods of time. According to its annual FOIA report, ICE had only 50 pending requests at the end of FY 2011. However, this number had jumped...
  • Blog Post: ICE’s FOIA Office Backlog Shows Ballooning Wait Times

    "The median time FOIA requests have been waiting unanswered in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s backlog has climbed 64 percent in just the last sixty days. During this period according to ICE records, receipts of new FOIA requests and monthly closure numbers have not noticeably...
  • Blog Post: FOIA Victory in D.C. - American Immigration Council v. ICE

    "Plaintiff American Immigration Council brought this action under the Freedom of Information Act seeking records on immigrants' access to legal counsel during their interactions with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities. Defendant ICE (a component of the Department of Homeland...
  • Blog Post: FOIA Release: The Relationship Between Prosecutorial Discretion and NTAs

    Prof. Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia writes: "As an outcome of research for a future report by Penn State Dickinson School of Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights and the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration on the relationship between prosecutorial discretion and Notices...
  • Blog Post: Asylum FOIA Victory in SF: Martins v. USCIS

    "Immigration officials must hand over notes asylum officers take, a federal judge ruled , finding the documents essential to quality representation in immigration proceedings. San Francisco-based immigration attorney Jeffrey Martins sued the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and its director...
  • Blog Post: Poor ICE FOIA Management Hinders Public Access to Immigration Records

    "Poor management of FOIA requests at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is evidenced by older requests being forgotten while the agency focuses on the newer ones, according to the latest ICE records compiled and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse...
  • Blog Post: FOIA: Internal Documents by USCIS on Deferred Action (non-DACA)

    "To: Interested Parties From: Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia Date: July 29, 2013 Re: Internal Documents by USCIS on Deferred Action (non-DACA) Earlier this year, I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request with USCIS seeking internal documents and guidance pertaining to deferred action...