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FOIA: IRAP v. DOS – Transparency in Determining the Eligibility of SIV Applicants

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has published virtually no information about how it adjudicates applications for Chief of Mission (COM) approval, the first stage in the Special Immigrant Visa application process for Afghan and Iraqi nationals whose lives are at risk because of their work on behalf of the U.S. government.  in which DOS evaluates an applicant’s qualifying employment to determine whether they can continue.  As a result, applicants and their counsel are in the dark as to how they can establish that their employment qualifies them for the program, leaving the applicants at risk of being excluded from this critical pathway.

In June 2020, IRAP, represented by pro bono counsel at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, filed a lawsuit to compel the release of DOS guidance regarding the adjudication of COM applications.  Since February 2021, DOS has been producing records to IRAP on a monthly basis.

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