FOIA Requests and Other Background Checks: A Practical Guide to Filing Records Requests in Immigration Cases provides practitioners with a one-stop guide for information about why, when, where, and how to file background checks in immigration cases. This guide describes the various federal agencies and components that generally hold immigration records, explains how to request records and appeal denials or incomplete responses, and provides tips for certain circumstances, such as representing minors or immigrants in removal proceedings.
This resource offers several examples including sample FOIA requests to the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Justice; sample federal complaints and advocacy FOIAs to DHS; sample records requests to the Office of Refugee Resettlement; sample Federal Bureau of Investigation and state background check records; and many other resources for both private attorneys and nonprofit practitioners seeking records in immigration cases.
New in this Edition
- The importance of filing records requests and descriptions of the main types of records requests;
- The various criminal background checks available, including FBI background checks, state background checks, and court-specific records requests;
- The overlapping criminal and law enforcement databases, what documents they contain, and who can access them;
- How to file a FOIA request with DHS (specifically with USCIS, ICE, CBP, and OBIM), including a step-by-step guide on how to fill out Form G-639, the online DHS request form, and various component-specific request forms;
- How to file a FOIA request in immigration cases with the Department of State, the Department of Justice, and the U.S. Armed Forces;
- Special considerations when filing records requests for immigrant youth, including guidance on how to request the Office of Refugee Resettlement file when immigrant youth have been classified as “unaccompanied”; juvenile delinquency records, keeping in mind any state confidentiality provisions that apply; and information about whether a client’s name has been added to a gang database;
- FOIA considerations for immigrants in removal proceedings, including information and guidance on how to accelerate USCIS FOIA requests, how to request personal review of immigration court files, how to make records requests pursuant to Dent v. Holder in the Ninth Circuit, and other due process arguments and subpoena options that might be available to help immigrants in removal proceedings access records;
- The FOIA appeal process, including how to challenge an agency’s response to a FOIA request and what types of adverse actions can be appealed;
- Common FOIA exemptions and practice tips on challenging those exemptions; and
- Guidance on how to use FOIA as an advocacy tool to obtain information about immigration practice and enforcement from the government.