[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 245 (Friday, December 19, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 77795-77798]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-29837]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Office of the Secretary

[Docket No. DHS-2008-0162]


Privacy Act of 1974; United States Citizenship and Immigration 
Services--008 Refugee Access Verification Unit System of Records.

AGENCY: Privacy Office; DHS.

[[Page 77796]]


ACTION: Notice of Privacy Act system of records.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 and as part of the 
Department of Homeland Security's ongoing effort to review and update 
legacy system of records notices, the Department of Homeland Security 
is giving notice that it proposes to update and reissue the following 
legacy record system, Justice/INS-006 Refugee Access Verification Unit 
Records, December 26, 2002, as a Department of Homeland Security U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services system of records titled, U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services Refugee Access Verification Unit 
System of Records.
    The identification of potential refugees and the initial processing 
of potential refugees is performed by the Department of State, outside 
of the United States, and information associated with this process is 
captured in the Department of States' Worldwide Refugee Processing 
System. Although the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship 
and Immigration Services has limited access to the system, it does not 
belong to Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and 
Immigration Services. There are four categories of fact patterns under 
which an individual can become eligible for resettlement in the United 
States as a refugee. The Department of Homeland Security U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services has a separate system that 
contains information related to only one of these categories, which is 
when a family member in the United States files an Affidavit of 
Relationship. Information related to the other three categories is 
initially captured in the Department of States' Worldwide Refugee 
Processing System and then in the Department of Homeland Security U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services' DHS-USCIS-001 A-File system (72 
FR 1755 January 16, 2007) after the individual comes to the United 
States. In addition, information related to individuals for whom 
Affidavits of Relationships have been filed may also be captured in 
Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration 
Services' DHS-USCIS-007 Benefits Information System (73 FR 56596, 
September 29, 2008) as the applicant seeks to adjust his or her status.
    Categories of individuals, categories of records and routine uses 
and purpose of this legacy system of records notice have been updated 
to better reflect the United States Citizenship and Immigration 
Services' Refugee Access Verification Unit records. Additionally, 
authorities for maintenance of the system, retention and disposal, and 
system manager have been updated to reflect the systems current 
operations. This updated system of records notice will be included in 
the Department of Homeland Security's inventory of record systems.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before January 20, 
2009.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-
2008-0162 by one of the following methods:
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: 1-866-466-5370.
     Mail: Hugo Teufel III, Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy 
Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.
     Instructions: All submissions received must include the 
agency name and docket number for this rulemaking. All comments 
received will be posted without change and may be read at http://
www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.
     Docket: For access to the docket, to read background 
documents, or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general questions please contact 
Donald K. Hawkins (202-272-8404), Privacy Officer, U.S. Citizenship and 
Immigration Services, 20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 
20529. For privacy issues please contact Hugo Teufel III (703-235-
0780), Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, U.S. Department of 
Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    Pursuant to the savings clause in the Homeland Security Act of 
2002, Public Law 107-296, Section 1512, 116 Stat. 2310 (November 25, 
2002), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have relied on preexisting 
Privacy Act systems of records notices for the collection and 
maintenance of records handled by USCIS Refugee Access Verification 
Unit (RAVU).
    As part of its efforts to streamline and consolidate its record 
systems, DHS is updating and reissuing a USCIS system of records under 
the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) that deals with storing and reporting 
the results of the Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) review for refugee 
applicants. This record system allows DHS/USCIS to collect and preserve 
the records regarding the processing of AORs for potential refugee 
applicants. The collection and maintenance of this information will 
assist DHS/USCIS in accomplishing the following three functions: (1) 
Issuing its findings to the Department of State (DOS) in furtherance of 
the DOS' onward processing outside of the United States; (2) to permit 
the return of the AOR to the anchor relative due to a finding of 
ineligibility and; (3) to assist USCIS in tracking statistics regarding 
findings of fraud.
    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 and as part of the 
Department of Homeland Security's ongoing effort to review and update 
legacy system of records notices, the Department of Homeland Security 
is giving notice that it proposes to update and reissue the following 
legacy record system, Justice/INS-006 Refugee Access Verification Unit 
Records, December 26, 2002, as a Department of Homeland Security U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services system of records titled, U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services Refugee Access Verification Unit 
System of Records.
    The identification of potential refugees and the initial processing 
of potential refugees is performed by the Department of State, outside 
of the United States, and information associated with this process is 
captured in the Department of States' Worldwide Refugee Processing 
System. Although the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship 
and Immigration Services has limited access to the system, it does not 
belong to Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and 
Immigration Services. There are four categories of fact patterns under 
which an individual can become eligible for resettlement in the United 
States as a refugee. The Department of Homeland Security U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services has a separate system that 
contains information related to only one of these categories, which is 
when a family member in the United States files an Affidavit of 
Relationship. Information related to the other three categories is 
initially captured in the Department of States' Worldwide Refugee 
Processing System and then in the Department of Homeland Security U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services' DHS-USCIS-001 A-File system (72 
FR 1755, January 16, 2007) after the individual comes to the United 
States. In addition, information related to individuals for whom 
Affidavits of Relationships have been filed may also be captured in 
Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and

[[Page 77797]]

Immigration Services' DHS-USCIS-007 Benefits Information System (73 FR 
56596, September 29, 2008) as he or she seeks to adjust his or her 
status.
    Categories of individuals, categories of records and routine uses 
and purpose of this legacy system of records notice have been updated 
to better reflect the United States Citizenship and Immigration 
Services' Refugee Access Verification Unit records. Additionally, 
authorities for maintenance of the system, retention and disposal, and 
system manager have been updated to reflect the systems current 
operations. This updated system of records notice will be included in 
the Department of Homeland Security's inventory of record systems.

II. Privacy Act

    The Privacy Act embodies fair information principles in a statutory 
framework governing the means by which the United States Government 
collects, maintains, uses, and disseminates individuals' records. The 
Privacy Act applies to information that is maintained in a ``system of 
records.'' A ``system of records'' is a group of any records under the 
control of an agency for which information is retrieved by the name of 
an individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other 
identifying particular assigned to the individual. In the Privacy Act, 
an individual is defined to encompass United States citizens and lawful 
permanent residents. As a matter of policy, DHS extends administrative 
Privacy Act protections to all individuals where systems of records 
maintain information on U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and 
visitors. Individuals may request access to their own records that are 
maintained in a system of records in the possession or under the 
control of DHS by complying with DHS Privacy Act regulations, 6 CFR 
part 5.
    In addition, information pertaining to an individual's status as a 
refugee is as a matter of DHS policy, afforded the confidentiality 
protections contained in 8 CFR 208.6 which strictly limits the 
disclosure of information to third parties.
    The Privacy Act requires each agency to publish in the Federal 
Register a description denoting the type and character of each system 
of records that the agency maintains, and the routine uses that are 
contained in each system in order to make agency record keeping 
practices transparent, to notify individuals regarding the uses of 
their records, and to assist individuals to more easily find such files 
within the agency. Below is the description of the Protected Status 
Application Information System of Records.
    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(r), DHS has provided a report of 
this new system of records to the Office of Management and Budget and 
to Congress.
System of Records
DHS/USCIS-008

System name:
    United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Refugee Access 
Verification Unit Records.

Security classification:
    Unclassified.

System location:
    Records are maintained at the United States Citizenship and 
Immigration Services Headquarters, Refugee Affairs Division in 
Washington, DC, and field locations.

Categories of individuals covered by the system:
    Categories of individuals covered by this system include priority 
three (P3) refugee applicants and their relatives who have not yet 
received a refugee classification interview by DHS/USCIS; and anchor 
relatives such as lawful permanent residents and/or United States 
citizen relatives in the United States who have filed an Affidavit of 
Relationship (AOR) on behalf of a refugee applicant overseas under the 
P3 worldwide processing priorities.

Categories of records in the system:
    Categories of records in this system may include:
     Applicant's name and the name of accompanying family 
members and their contact information;
     Anchor's Alien number (if applicable);
     Anchor relative's name and contact information;
     Interview worksheets;
     Other applications for USCIS benefits and related forms;
     AOR and AOR review checklists and decision notices;
     Biographic and demographic information of anchor relative 
and applicant such as family trees and documents establishing identity;
     Communication from voluntary agencies; Members of 
Congress; U.S. Government agencies and International organizations;
     AOR Review findings;
     Case number.

Authority for maintenance of the system:
    5 U.S.C. 301; the Federal Records Act, 44 U.S.C. 3101; 8 U.S.C. 
1522(b) (Authorization for Programs for Initial Domestic Resettlement 
of and Assistance to Refugees) and 8 U.S.C. 1157 (Annual Admission of 
Refugees and Admission of Emergency Situation Refugees).

Purpose(s):
    The purpose of this system is to track and manage the review of 
Affidavits of Relationship (AORs) filed by anchor relatives in the 
United States on behalf of certain family members overseas seeking 
consideration for refugee resettlement under Priority Three (P3) to the 
United States.

Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories 
of users and the purposes of such uses:
    In addition to those disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 
552a(b) of the Privacy Act, all or a portion of the records of 
information contained in this system may be disclosed outside DHS as a 
routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:
    A. To the Department of Justice or other Federal agency conducting 
litigation or in proceedings before any court, adjudicative or 
administrative body, when it is necessary to the litigation and one of 
the following is a party to the litigation or has an interest in such 
litigation:
    1. DHS or any component thereof;
    2. Any employee of DHS in his/her official capacity;
    3. Any employee of DHS in his/her individual capacity where DOJ or 
DHS has agreed to represent the employee; or
    4. The United States or any agency thereof, is a party to the 
litigation or has an interest in such litigation, and DHS determines 
that the records are both relevant and necessary to the litigation and 
the use of such records is compatible with the purpose for which DHS 
collected the records.
    B. To a congressional office from the record of an individual in 
response to an inquiry from that congressional office made at the 
request of the individual to whom the record pertains.
    C. To the National Archives and Records Administration or other 
Federal government agencies pursuant to records management inspections 
being conducted under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906.
    D. To an agency, organization, or individual for the purpose of 
performing audit or oversight operations as authorized by law, but only 
such information as is necessary and relevant to such audit or 
oversight function.
    E. To appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when:
    1. DHS suspects or has confirmed that the security or 
confidentiality of

[[Page 77798]]

information in the system of records has been compromised;
    2. The Department has determined that as a result of the suspected 
or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property 
interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or 
integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether 
maintained by DHS or another agency or entity) or harm to the 
individual who relies upon the compromised information; and
    3. The disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is 
reasonably necessary to assist in connection with DHS's efforts to 
respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, 
or remedy such harm.
    F. To contractors and their agents, grantees, experts, consultants, 
and others performing or working on a contract, service, grant, 
cooperative agreement, or other assignment for DHS, when necessary to 
accomplish an agency function related to this system of records. 
Individuals provided information under this routine use are subject to 
the same Privacy Act requirements and limitations on disclosure as are 
applicable to DHS officers and employees.
    G. To an appropriate Federal, State, tribal, local, international, 
or foreign law enforcement agency or other appropriate authority 
charged with investigating or prosecuting a violation or enforcing or 
implementing a law, rule, regulation, or order, where a record, either 
on its face or in conjunction with other information, indicates a 
violation or potential violation of law, which includes criminal, 
civil, or regulatory violations and such disclosure is proper and 
consistent with the official duties of the person making the 
disclosure.
    H. To the Department of State (DOS), when necessary to accomplish 
an agency function related to this system of records.
    I. To an attorney or representative who is acting on behalf of an 
individual covered by this system of records (as defined in 8 CFR 
1.1(j)) in conjunction with any proceeding before DHS/USCIS or the 
Executive Office for Immigration Review.
    J. To a former employee of the Department for purposes of 
responding to an official inquiry by a Federal, State, or local 
government entity or professional licensing authority, in accordance 
with applicable Department regulations; or facilitating communications 
with a former employee that may be necessary for personnel-related or 
other official purposes where the Department requires information and/
or consultation assistance from the former employee regarding a matter 
within that person's former area of responsibility;
    K. To Federal and foreign government intelligence or 
counterterrorism agencies or components where DHS becomes aware of an 
indication of a threat or potential threat to national or international 
security, or where such use is to assist in anti-terrorism efforts and 
disclosure is appropriate to the proper performance of the official 
duties of the person making the disclosure.

Disclosure to consumer reporting agencies:
    None.

Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, 
and disposing of records in the system:
Storage:
    Records in this system are stored electronically and on paper in 
secure facilities in a locked drawer behind a locked door.

Retrievability:
    Records may be retrieved by refugee applicant's name, refugee alien 
number, case number, and anchor relative's name.

Safeguards:
    Records in this system are safeguarded in accordance with 
applicable rules and policies, including all applicable DHS automated 
systems security and access policies. Strict controls have been imposed 
to minimize the risk of compromising the information that is being 
stored. Access to the computer system containing the records in this 
system is limited to those individuals who have a need to know the 
information for the performance of their official duties and who have 
appropriate clearances or permissions.

Retention and disposal:
    In accordance with National Archives and Records Administration 
approved schedule N1-563-04-5, the RAVU electronic master file records 
are maintained 20 years before destruction; case files are maintained 
at USCIS Headquarters for 2 years and then destroyed.

System Manager and address:
    Chief, Refugee Affairs Division, Refugee, Asylum and International 
Operations Directorate, 111 Massachusetts Avenue, Eighth Floor, 
Washington, DC 20529.

Notification procedure:
    Individuals seeking notification of and access to any record 
contained in this system of records, or seeking to contest its content, 
may submit a request in writing to National Records Center, FOIA/PA 
Office, P.O. Box 648010, Lee's Summit, MO 64064-8010. Specific FOIA 
contact information can be found at http://www.dhs.gov/foia under 
``contacts.''
    When seeking records about yourself from this system of records or 
any other USCIS system of records your request must conform with the 
Privacy Act regulations set forth in 6 CFR part 5. You must first 
verify your identity, meaning that you must provide your full name, 
current address and date and place of birth. You must sign your 
request, and your signature must either be notarized or submitted under 
28 U.S.C. 1746, a law that permits statements to be made under penalty 
of perjury as a substitute for notarization. While no specific form is 
required, you may obtain forms for this purpose from the Director, 
Disclosure and FOIA, http://www.dhs.gov or 1-866-431-0486. In addition, 
you should provide the following:
     An explanation of why you believe the Department would 
have information on you,
     Specify when you believe the records would have been 
created,
     If your request is seeking records pertaining to another 
living individual, you must include a statement from that individual 
certifying his/her agreement for you to access his/her records.
    Without this bulleted information USCIS may not be able to conduct 
an effective search, and your request may be denied due to lack of 
specificity or lack of compliance with applicable regulations.

Record access procedures:
    See ``Notification procedure'' above.

Contesting record procedures:
    See ``Notification procedure'' above.

Record source categories:
    Information contained in this system of records is obtained from 
the individual who is the subject of these records as well as 
relatives, sponsors, Members of Congress, U.S. Government agencies, 
voluntary agencies, international organizations, and local sources at 
overseas posts.

Exemptions claimed for the system:
    None.

    Dated: December 10, 2008.
Hugo Teufel III,
Chief Privacy Officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
 [FR Doc. E8-29837 Filed 12-18-08; 8:45 am]
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