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Immigration and the Freedom of Information Act

In the United States, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has been affecting several aspects of life since it became effective in 1967. This federal law establishes a framework for releasing documents and information kept by the U.S. government. For immigrants, the FOIA is an important tool to inquire about every document and piece of information that the government has collected on individuals who seek to adjust their status in the U.S.

Why FOIA Requests Matter

Most federal agencies in the U.S. are subject to FOIA requests. The agency that immigrants should send FOIA requests to is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Under normal circumstances, immigrants should be able to get copies of their entire A-files from the USCIS. Some information is protected by exemptions and exclusions and thus will not be released; the best way to find out about information withheld by USCIS is to consult a San Diego immigration attorney.

FOIA requests can help in many ways; one of their most useful purposes is to thoroughly inform immigrants about their actual status. In some cases, an immigrant may not be aware that he or she is under deportation orders until an FOIA request is made. Learning about such matters is crucial for immigrants and the attorneys who represent them through the process; it helps the formulation of a strategy and dispels any misunderstandings that USCIS agents may have about an individual who is applying for adjustment of status.

Filing FOIA Requests

The National Records Center is the USCIS section responsible for receiving and complying with written FOIA requests. They must be completed on Form G-639, but they can also be filed online. When USCIS record technicians receive these requests, they carefully act upon everything that is written on them.

Acknowledgments of receipt are issued by USCIS within five business days from the day the FOIA request is received. It may take several months for the USCIS to send a response, and it is always disheartening to receive a notice that indicates errors were made on the FOIA request. For this reason, it is recommended that immigrants seek the assistance of a professional San Diego immigration law firm when filling out these requests.

KS Visa Law is a premier law firm that specializes in immigration and nationality law in San Diego. With help from our professional and experienced attorneys, you can learn about your current immigration status and make sure all information is correct and in place for future adjustment of status.

June 2024