The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives individuals the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens “in the know” about their government. In the immigration context, FOIA allows individuals with long and complicated immigration histories to obtain records from the government regarding past applications for benefits, requests for relief, and interactions with law enforcement.
Although an individual has a right to records about his person, the government also has a right to withhold certain information under very specific exceptions to the FOIA, including national security and records related to an agency’s decision-making process. Any ambiguity as to whether the information should be released must be resolved in the FOIA applicant’s favor.
At Grossman Law, we push for the release of all responsive, non-exempt records. Through thorough applications and appeals, Grossman Law has been successful in obtaining the release of hundreds of additional pages of FOIA records from USCIS, ICE, EOIR, and other government agencies. Grossman Law attorneys recently obtained a favorable decision in a FOIA matter in Federal District Court; the Honorable Judge John Bates ordered USCIS to release previously withheld records for his “in camera” review. During “in camera” review, the Judge will look at the withheld information to ensure that the agency only withheld information that properly fell within exceptions to the FOIA. Click to read more about this victory, or to read the Judge's decision in this case.