Effective 30th March, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will
improve its processing of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from the
general public by establishing a third processing track for individuals appearing
before an immigration court. Currently, a large portion of FOIA requests are
submitted by individuals who have received a Notice to Appear for a hearing before
an immigration judge or by such individuals' attorneys or representatives. USCIS
will be able to provide the public with more expeditious service by creating
an additional processing track and thereby improve customer satisfaction.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act and the Department of Homeland
Security's implementing regulations, the Secretary of Homeland Security may use
two or more processing tracks for responding to FOIA requests. Currently, USCIS
has two tracks: Track 1 is for less complex requests that can be processed in
20 working days or less. Track 2 is for complex requests that may require more
than 20 working days to process and that include searching and line-by-line review
of numerous pages of information.
USCIS will now be establishing a third
processing track, the "Notice To Appear" track, which will allow for accelerated
access to the Alien-File (A-File) for those individuals who have been served
with a charging document and have been scheduled for a hearing before an immigration
judge as a result.