[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 39 (Wednesday, February 28, 2007)]
[Pages 9017-9018]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-3357]



U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

[CIS No. 2394-06; DHS Docket No. USCIS-2006-0051]
RIN 1615-ZA40

Special FOIA Processing Track for Individuals Appearing Before an 
Immigration Judge

AGENCY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is improving 
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. By creating an additional 
processing track, USCIS will be able to provide the public with more 
expeditious service and to thereby improve customer satisfaction.

DATES: This notice is effective March 30, 2007.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian J. Welsh, Chief, Freedom of 
Information Act and Privacy Act, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration 
Services, Department of Homeland Security, P.O. Box 648010, Lee's 
Summit, Missouri 64064, Phone: 816-350-5785, E-Mail: uscis.foia@dhs.gov 



    Under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552 (``FOIA''), the 
Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and the Department of Homeland Security's 
implementing regulations located at 6 CFR 5.5(b), 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. With this notice, USCIS will establish 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

[[Page 9018]]

document and have been scheduled for a hearing before an immigration 
judge as a result. The creation of this track is consistent with 
Executive Order 13392, ``Improving Agency Disclosure of Information'' 
(December 14, 2005), which requires Federal agencies to improve their 
FOIA processing.
    ``Notice To Appear'' track cases do not include cases in which the 
immigration judge has issued a final order or cases in which an appeal 
of an immigration judge's decision has been filed with the Board of 
Immigration Appeals (BIA). ``Notice To Appear'' track cases do not 
include cases in which the subject's date of scheduled hearing before 
the immigration judge has passed and current records indicate that the 
subject failed to appear for his/her scheduled hearing, resulting in 
closure of the removal/deportation proceedings by the immigration 
    An Alien-File or A-File is the series of records USCIS maintains on 
immigrants, certain non-immigrants, applicants for citizenship, certain 
individuals who have relinquished their United States citizenship, 
applicants for permanent residence or other immigration benefits, and 
individuals who have become subjects of immigration enforcement 
proceedings. The A-File documents the history of such people's 
interaction with USCIS or other components of the Department of 
Homeland Security (DHS) in actions prescribed by the Immigration and 
Nationality Act (INA) and related regulations. USCIS uses the 
information in an A-File to adjudicate requests for immigration-related 
benefits and to enforce U.S. immigration laws.
    Individuals may request access to their A-files by filing a FOIA 
request with Form G-639, Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request, or 
by having their attorney or representative submit such a request along 
with a Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or 
Representative, on their behalf. These forms can be found at http://
    A requester (including individuals, attorneys, or representatives) 
seeking to be placed in the queue must provide a copy of one of the 
following documents:
    1. Form I-862, Notice To Appear, documenting the scheduled date of 
the subject's hearing before the immigration judge;
    2. Form I-122, Order To Show Cause, documenting the scheduled date 
of the subject's hearing before the immigration judge;
    3. A written notice of continuation of a scheduled hearing before 
the immigration judge; or
    4. Form I-863, Notice of Referral to Immigration Judge.
    After USCIS receives the request and validates it as a proper 
request, USCIS will place it in a queue of previously received requests 
of a similar nature. USCIS will take the requests in the order of 
receipt, as mandated by the FOIA and the applicable implementing DHS 
regulations at 6 CFR 5. USCIS will only accept requests for expedited 
processing for this queue if the requester has satisfied the 
requirements outlined in 6 CFR 5.5(d).
    All other FOIA requirements, as described in 6 CFR part 5, 
Disclosure of Records and Information, will apply.
    This notice does not affect those requests that do not fall in the 
above-described category.

    Dated: February 21, 2007.
Emilio T. Gonzalez,
Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
 [FR Doc. E7-3357 Filed 2-27-07; 8:45 am]