IRAP filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit seeking records from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the State Department (DOS) about the demographics, processing, and adjudication of applications for admission to the United States as a refugee through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), which has long provided a pathway for refugees to reach safety and security within the United States.
President Biden pledged to rebuild and expand USRAP after its decimation by the Trump Administration and bring greater transparency to refugee processing. However, processing issues left over from the Trump administration continue to plague refugee applicants, including IRAP’s clients, and as of January 31, 2023, the Biden Administration has admitted nearly 13,000 fewer refugees than Trump did at the same stage of his term.
This case seeks anonymized refugee case data and certain records for case management systems maintained and used by USCIS and DOS when processing and adjudicating a refugee’s application for admission to the United States. The records requested through this lawsuit will bring the backlogs for refugee cases in USRAP to the public, and identify how changes to the program over the past eight years have affected processing times and outcomes, particularly as to refugee populations that have faced marginalization and discrimination within USRAP.
IRAP is awaiting a response from USCIS and DOS to its Complaint.
- February 14, 2023: Complaint is filed.