[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 220 (Tuesday, November 15, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 70735-70739]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-29450]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Office of the Secretary

[Docket No. DHS-2011-0087]


Privacy Act of 1974; Department of Homeland Security/U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services--016 Electronic Immigration 
System-3 Automated Background Functions System of Records

AGENCY: Privacy Office, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of Privacy Act system of records.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the Department of 
Homeland Security proposes to update and reissue the Department of 
Homeland Security system of records titled, ``Department of Homeland 
Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services--016 Electronic 
Immigration System-3 Automated Background Functions System of 
Records.'' This system of records will allow the Department of Homeland 
Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to collect and 
maintain certain biographic information about individuals in the U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration -Services Electronic Immigration System and 
its legacy systems in order to detect duplicate and related accounts 
and identify potential national security concerns, criminality, and 
fraud to ensure that serious or complex cases receive additional 
scrutiny. This system of records notice is being updated to clarify the 
data retention policy. Additionally, the Department of Homeland 
Security is issuing a Final Rule elsewhere in the Federal Register, to 
exempt this system of records from certain provisions of the Privacy 
Act. This updated system will be included in the Department of Homeland 
Security's inventory of record systems.

DATES: Submit comments on or before December 15, 2011. This system will 
be effective December 15, 2011.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-
2011-0087 by one of the following methods:
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: (703) 483-2999.
     Mail: Mary Ellen Callahan, 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 to 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) 272-8030), Privacy Officer, U.S. Citizenship 
and Immigration Services, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 
20529. For privacy issues please contact: Mary Ellen Callahan ((703) 
235-0780), Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, Department of 
Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, the 
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration 
Services (USCIS) proposes to update and reissue the DHS system of 
records titled, ``DHS/USCIS-016 Electronic Immigration System-3 
Automated Background Functions System of Records.'' This system of 
records notice is being updated to clarify the data retention policy 
and to recognize the issuance of a Final Rule exempting the system from 
portions of the Privacy Act. DHS received no public comments for this 
system of records notice. Consequently, DHS is not making any changes 
in response to public comments.
    DHS/USCIS is creating a new electronic environment known as the 
Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS). USCIS ELIS allows 
individuals requesting a USCIS benefit to register online and submit 
certain benefit requests through the online system. This system will 
improve customer service; increase efficiency for processing benefits; 
better identify potential national security concerns, criminality, and 
fraud; and create improved access controls and better auditing 
capabilities.
    DHS and USCIS are promulgating the regulation ``Immigration 
Benefits Business Transformation, Increment I'' (August 29, 2011, 76 FR 
53764) to allow for USCIS to transition to an electronic environment. 
This regulation will assist USCIS in the transformation of its 
operations by removing references and processes that inhibit the use of 
electronic systems or constrain USCIS's ability to respond to changing 
workloads, priorities, and statutory requirements.
    Applicants and petitioners (Applicants); co-applicants, 
beneficiaries, derivatives, dependents, or other persons on whose 
behalf a benefit request is made or whose immigration status may be 
derived because of a relationship to the Applicant (Co-Applicants); and 
their attorneys and representatives accredited by the Board of 
Immigration Appeals (Representatives) may create individualized online 
accounts. These online accounts help Applicants and their 
Representatives file for benefits, track the status of open benefit 
requests, schedule appointments, change their addresses and contact 
information, and receive notices and notifications regarding their 
particular cases. Through USCIS ELIS, individuals may submit evidence 
electronically. Once an individual provides biographic information for 
one benefit request, USCIS ELIS uses that information to pre-populate 
any future benefit requests by the same individual. This eases the 
burden on an individual so he or she does not have to repeatedly type 
in the same information and also reduces the number of possible errors.
    USCIS is publishing three System of Records Notices (SORNs) to 
cover the following three distinct processes of this new electronic 
environment and the privacy and security protections incorporated into 
USCIS ELIS:
    1. Temporary Accounts and Draft Benefit Requests: The Electronic 
Immigration System-1 Temporary Accounts and Draft Benefit Requests SORN 
(DHS/USCIS-014) addresses temporary data provided by Applicants or 
Representatives. This temporary data includes temporary accounts for 
first-time Applicants and draft benefit request data from first-time 
Applicants, Applicants with permanent accounts, and Representatives. 
Applicants first interact with USCIS ELIS by creating a temporary 
account, setting notification preferences, and drafting the first 
benefit request. If a first-time Applicant does not begin drafting a 
benefit request within 30 days of opening the temporary account, USCIS 
ELIS deletes the temporary account. If he or she does not submit the 
benefit request within 30 days of starting a draft benefit request, 
USCIS ELIS deletes the temporary account and all draft benefit request 
data. If a first-time Applicant submits the benefit request within 30 
days, USCIS ELIS automatically changes the

[[Page 70736]]

status of the account from temporary to permanent. Applicants with 
permanent USCIS ELIS accounts or Representatives may also draft benefit 
requests. USCIS ELIS deletes all draft benefit requests if they are not 
submitted within 30 days of initiation.
    2. Account and Case Management: The Electronic Immigration System-2 
Account and Case Management SORN (DHS/USCIS-015) addresses the 
activities undertaken by USCIS after Applicants or Representatives 
submit a benefit request. USCIS ELIS uses information provided on 
initial and subsequent benefit requests and subsequent collections 
through the Account and Case Management process to create or update 
USCIS ELIS accounts; collect any missing information; manage workflow; 
assist USCIS adjudicators as they make a benefit determination; and 
provide a repository of data to assist with future benefit requests. In 
addition, USCIS ELIS processes and tracks all actions related to the 
case, including scheduling appointments and issuing decision notices 
and/or proofs of benefit.
    3. Automated Background Functions: The Electronic Immigration 
System-3 Automated Background Functions SORN (DHS/USCIS-016) addresses 
the actions USCIS ELIS takes to detect duplicate and related accounts 
and identify potential national security concerns, criminality, and 
fraud to ensure that serious or complex cases receive additional 
scrutiny.
    Electronic Immigration System-3 Automated Background Functions 
(USCIS ELIS Automated Background Functions) uses biographic information 
stored in Electronic Immigration System-2 Account and Case Management 
(USCIS ELIS Account and Case Management) to run a series of automated 
rules on that information, generating results, and assigning confidence 
and severity levels to the results to assist USCIS personnel reviewing 
the results. The results of all USCIS ELIS Automated Background 
Functions are returned to the account or case and are used and shared 
according to the Electronic Immigration System-2 Account and Case 
Management SORN. USCIS ELIS Automated Background Functions use this 
information to detect duplicates and related records, and to identify 
national security concerns, criminality, and fraud to ensure that 
serious or complex cases receive additional scrutiny.

Detect Duplicates and Related Records

    In order to identify duplicate USCIS ELIS accounts, other USCIS 
records pertaining to the individual, and relationships among 
individuals with USCIS records, USCIS ELIS Automated Background 
Functions maintain a copy of biographical information from USCIS ELIS 
accounts and cases (described in the Electronic Immigration System-2 
Account and Case Management SORN), as well as the following legacy 
USCIS systems: Alien File/Central Index System; Benefits Processing of 
Applicants other than Petitions for Naturalization, Refugee Status, and 
Asylum (CLAIMS 3); Computer Linked Application Information Management 
System (CLAIMS 4); Refugees, Asylum, and Parole System (RAPS); and 
Fraud Detection and National Security Data System (FDNS-DS).

Background, National Security, and Criminality Checks

    USCIS ELIS Automated Background Functions automatically perform 
background checks when new information is received by querying several 
DHS, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other agencies' law 
enforcement and/or immigration systems, as appropriate, to identify 
national security and/or law enforcement concerns.

Identification of Possible Fraud

    Results from the de-duplication and relationship analysis and 
background checks are run against a set of USCIS analyst-derived rules 
to assign confidence levels indicating how strongly the information in 
one record matches another record, as well as a severity level 
indicating possible criminal, national security, or fraudulent 
activity. Each result will have a summary which will include the rule 
used to produce the result and any alerts or flags to control 
subsequent processing. Once the rules have returned results and 
confidence and severity levels are assigned, USCIS ELIS Automated 
Background Functions will route the case to the appropriate USCIS 
personnel based on the nature of the results.
    Information is shared outside of DHS to perform system queries as 
part of USCIS ELIS Automated Background Functions. USCIS shares 
biographic information with the Department of State (DOS) and receives 
visa information in return. USCIS provides biometric and biographic 
information to, and receives criminal history information from, the 
FBI. USCIS provides biographic information to, and receives biographic 
and immigration court data from, the Department of Justice (DOJ) 
Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR).
    The proposed routine uses are compatible with the purpose of the 
original collection. The routine uses have been tailored to ensure that 
the information within the system is shared through USCIS Automated 
Background Functions when an individual requests a benefit. Generally, 
all other sharing will occur out of the Electronic Immigration System-2 
Account and Case Management SORN. However, pursuant to (b)(1) of the 
Privacy Act, this information may be shared with other DHS components 
pursuant to its mission within the Department.
    USCIS collects, uses, and maintains benefit request eligibility 
results pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1103 and 8 U.S.C. 1225.
    Consistent with DHS's information sharing mission, information 
stored in USCIS ELIS Automated Background Functions may be shared with 
other DHS components, as well as appropriate federal, state, local, 
tribal, territorial, foreign, or international government agencies. 
This sharing will only take place after DHS determines that the 
receiving component or agency has a need-to-know the information to 
carry out national security, law enforcement, immigration, 
intelligence, or other functions consistent with the routine uses set 
forth in this system of records notice.
    DHS is issuing a Final Rule to exempt this system of records from 
certain provisions of the Privacy Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2), 
elsewhere in the Federal Register. Additionally, many of the functions 
in this system require retrieving records from law enforcement systems. 
Where a record received from a law enforcement system has been exempted 
in that source system under 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), DHS will claim the 
same exemptions for those records that are claimed for the original 
primary systems of records from which they originated and claims any 
additional exemptions in accordance with this rule. This updated system 
will be included in DHS's inventory of record systems.

II. Privacy Act

    The Privacy Act embodies fair information practice principles in a 
statutory framework governing the means by which the U.S. 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

[[Page 70737]]

identifying particular assigned to the individual. In the Privacy Act, 
an individual is defined to encompass U.S. 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.
    Below is the description of DHS/USCIS-016 Electronic Immigration 
System-3 Automated Background Functions System of Records.
    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(r), DHS has provided a report of 
this system of records to the Office of Management and Budget and to 
Congress.
System of Records
    DHS/USCIS-016.

System name:
    DHS/USCIS-016 Electronic Immigration System-3 Automated Background 
Functions.

Security classification:
    Unclassified, sensitive, for official use only, law enforcement 
sensitive.

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

Categories of individuals covered by the system:
    USCIS ELIS Automated Background Functions stores and/or uses 
information about individuals who previously received or petitioned for 
benefits in USCIS ELIS, or have information in USCIS legacy systems 
described under ``records source,'' under the Immigration and 
Nationality Act (INA), as amended. These individuals include: 
Applicants and petitioners (Applicants); co-applicants, beneficiaries, 
derivatives, dependants or other persons on whose behalf a benefit 
request is made or whose immigration status may be derived because of a 
relationship to the Applicant (Co-Applicants); attorneys and 
representatives accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals 
(Representatives); and individuals that assist in the preparation of 
the benefit request.

Categories of records in the system:
     ELIS Account Number
     Name
     Date of Birth
     Place of Birth
     Country of Citizenship
     Gender
     Social Security Number, if applicable
     Alien Number
     Marital Status
     Family Relationships
     Current and Past Address Information
     Current and Past Telephone Information
     Case ID Number (specific to the benefit application)
     Application Type
     Passport Information
     Drivers License Number
     Email Address
     Eye Color
     Hair Color
     Height
     Attorney or Accredited Representative Information
     Employment Information
     FBI Number, if available
     Entry/Exit Data
     Rules used to generate results, assign confidence and 
severity levels, assign system flags, and route cases

Authority for maintenance of the system:
    8 U.S.C. 1103 and 8 U.S.C. 1225.

Purpose(s):
    The purpose of USCIS ELIS Automated Background Functions is to 
assist USCIS personnel in detecting duplicate and related accounts; 
identifying potential national security concerns, criminality, and 
fraud; as well as ensuring that serious or complex cases receive 
additional scrutiny.

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 or 
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 DOJ, including U.S. Attorney Offices, or other federal 
agencies 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 U.S. 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 (NARA) 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 information in the system of records has been 
compromised;
    2. DHS 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 that rely 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 the Department of Justice (DOJ) Executive Office of 
Immigration Review (EOIR) in the processing of petitions or 
applications for benefits under INA, and all other immigration and 
nationality laws including treaties and reciprocal agreements.
    H. To DOS in the processing of petitions or applications for 
benefits under INA, and all other immigration and nationality laws 
including treaties and reciprocal agreements.

[[Page 70738]]

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 or on paper in 
secure facilities in a locked drawer behind a locked door. The records 
are stored on magnetic disc, tape, digital media, and CD-ROM.

Retrievability:
    Records may be retrieved by any of the data elements listed above 
or combination thereof.

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:
    USCIS is currently in negotiations with NARA for approval of the 
USCIS ELIS data retention and archiving plan. USCIS proposes retaining 
the copy of biographic data stored in USCIS ELIS Automated Background 
Functions as long as the records exist in the source system. However, 
USCIS is reviewing its needs for the information as it transitions to a 
fully electronic environment and may amend its retention, as needed.
    USCIS proposes that, in compliance with NARA General Records 
Schedule 24, section 6, ``User Identification, Profiles, 
Authorizations, and Password Files,'' internal user accounts will be 
destroyed or deleted six years after the user account is terminated, or 
when no longer needed for investigative or security purposes, whichever 
is later.

System Manager and address:
    The DHS system manager is the Chief, Records Division, U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 
20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529.

Notification procedure:
    The Secretary of Homeland Security has exempted this system from 
the notification, access, and amendment procedures of the Privacy Act 
because it may maintain law enforcement information. However, DHS/USCIS 
will consider individual requests to determine whether or not 
information may be released. Thus, 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 the 
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.'' If an individual believes more 
than one component maintains Privacy Act records concerning him or her 
the individual may submit the request to the Chief Privacy Officer and 
Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer, Department of Homeland 
Security, 245 Murray Drive SW., Building 410, STOP-0655, Washington, DC 
20528.
    When seeking records about yourself from this system of records or 
any other Departmental 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 Chief Privacy 
Officer and Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer, http://www.dhs.gov or 1-(866) 431-0486. In addition you should:
     Provide an explanation of why you believe the Department 
would have information on you;
     Identify which component(s) of the Department you believe 
may have the information about you;
     Specify when you believe the records would have been 
created;
     Provide any other information that will help the FOIA 
staff determine which DHS component agency may have responsive records; 
and
     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 the component(s) 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:
    Records are retrieved through, but not stored in, the USCIS ELIS 
Automated Background Functions from the following USCIS, DHS, and other 
federal agency systems of records:
     DHS/USCIS-015--Electronic Immigration System-2--Account 
and Case Management System of Records;
     DHS/USCIS-001--Alien File, Index, and National File 
Tracking System of Records;
     DHS/USCIS-007--Benefits Information System (BIS);
     DHS/USCIS-010--Asylum Information and Pre-Screening;
     DHS/USCIS-006--Fraud Detection and National Security Data 
System (FDNS-DS);
     DHS/CBP-011--U.S. Customs and Border Protection TECS;
     DHS/ICE-001--Student and Exchange Visitor Information 
System (SEVIS);
     DHS/ICE-011--Immigration Enforcement Operational Records 
System (ENFORCE);
     DHS/USVISIT-001--Arrival and Departure Information System 
(ADIS);
     DHS/USVISIT-0012--DHS Automated Biometric Identification 
System (IDENT);
     Department of State Consular Consolidated Database (CCD);
     JUSTICE/EOIR-001--Records and Management Information 
System;
     JUSTICE/FBI-002--FBI Central Records System; and
     JUSTICE/FBI-009--Fingerprint Identification Records System 
(FIRS).
    In order to resolve identity and relationships, records stored in 
USCIS ELIS Automated Background Functions are obtained from the 
following USCIS systems of records: Electronic Immigration System-2 
Account and Case Management; Alien File, Index, and National File 
Tracking; Fraud Detection and National Security Data System; Benefits 
Information System; and Asylum Information and Pre-Screening.

Exemptions claimed for the system:
    The Secretary of Homeland Security has exempted this system from 
the following provisions of the Privacy Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 
552a(k)(2): 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3); (d); (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), 
(e)(4)(I); and (f). Additionally, many of the functions in this system 
require retrieving records from law enforcement systems. Where a record 
received from

[[Page 70739]]

another system has been exempted in that source system under 5 U.S.C. 
552a(j)(2), DHS will claim the same exemptions for those records that 
are claimed for the original primary systems of records from which they 
originated and claims any additional exemptions in accordance with this 
rule.

    Dated: November 2, 2011.
Mary Ellen Callahan,
Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security.
[FR Doc. 2011-29450 Filed 11-14-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9111-97-P