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FOIA: Challenging USCIS’s withholding policies

IRAP sued United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for unlawfully withholding application assessments, interview notes, and other records from clients’ case files as a matter of policy.

Impact

IRAP represents refugees USCIS has denied admission to the United States in administrative appeals. As USCIS provides only boilerplate explanations for denials, IRAP files FOIA requests for clients’ case files to learn the factual findings and legal reasoning for their denials so it can prepare a viable appeal. USCIS, though, has policies of misapplying exemptions to records containing this and other relevant information, preventing IRAP from obtaining them within the appeal deadline.

This case seeks to vacate these policies so IRAP can get the records it needs to write timely, meaningful appeals for its current and future refugee clients.

Case status

IRAP is awaiting a response from USCIS to its Complaint.

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