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Immigration Law

FOIA Lawsuit Seeks Immigration Court Information

"Last month, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), represented by Public Citizen and the American Immigration Council, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against EOIR and the Department of Justice, where EOIR is housed [complaint].  Under FOIA, AILA had requested the complaints that had been filed about immigration judges, the final decisions of EOIR resolving those complaints, and any records showing the basis or rationale for those final resolutions. ... AILA’s position is likely strong.  Although decisions reflecting agency deliberations are exempt from mandatory disclosure under FOIA, agencies’ final decisions are not.  See 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5).  Moreover, learning how the government handles complaints of official misconduct—especially when that alleged misconduct could have serious negative consequences for the public—is at the heart of FOIA’s purpose.  Accountability in this area is necessary, and AILA’s lawsuit is a step toward realizing public oversight of immigration proceedings." - Prof. Margaret B. Kwoka, July 30, 2013.