[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 153 (Wednesday, August 8, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 47411-47415]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-19337]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Office of the Secretary

[Docket No. DHS-2012-0018]


Privacy Act of 1974; Department of Homeland Security/U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services--006 Fraud Detection and National 
Security Records, System of Records

AGENCY: Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security.

ACTION: Notice of Privacy Act system of records.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, the 
Department of Homeland Security proposes to update and reissue the 
Department of Homeland Security system of records notice currently 
titled,'' Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and 
Immigration Services--006 Fraud Detection and National Security Data -
System and renaming it Fraud Detection and National Security Records.'' 
This system of records assists the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services in performing its statutory 
missions including strengthening the integrity of the nation's legal 
immigration system by ensuring that immigration benefits are not 
granted to individuals that may pose a threat to national security and/
or public safety. In addition, this system of records assists the 
Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration 
Services' recording, tracking, and managing immigration inquiries, 
investigative referrals, law enforcement requests, and case 
determinations involving benefit fraud, criminal activity, public 
safety and national security concerns. This system of records is being 
updated to more clearly describe the functions of the Fraud Detection 
and National Security Directorate and clarify that the system of 
records contains both electronic and paper files.

DATES: Submit comments on or before September 7, 2012. This revised 
system will be effective September 7, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-
2012-0018 by one of the following methods:
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: 202-343-4010.
     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: 
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Privacy Officer, 
Donald Hawkins (202-272-8000), 111 Massachusetts Avenue NW., 
Washington, DC 20529. For privacy issues please contact: Mary Ellen

[[Page 47412]]

Callahan (202-343-4010), Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, U.S. 
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 currently titled, ``Department of Homeland Security/U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services--006 Fraud Detection and National 
Security Data System System of Records'' (last published August 18, 
2008, 73 FR 48231) and renaming it Fraud Detection and National 
Security Records. This system of records notice (SORN) is being updated 
to better describe the functions of the Fraud Detection and National 
Security Directorate (FDNS).
    DHS through USCIS implements immigration law and policy through the 
processing and adjudication of applications and petitions submitted for 
citizenship, asylum, and other immigration benefits. Benefits may 
include adjustment of immigration status (granting lawful permanent 
residence), naturalization (granting United States citizenship), asylum 
and refugee status, and other immigrant and nonimmigrant benefits. 
USCIS supports the DHS statutory mandate of protecting the nation by 
identifying applicants who threaten national security or public safety 
and denying them immigration benefits that would allow them to legally 
enter or remain in the United States. In addition, USCIS enhances the 
integrity of the nation's legal immigration system by detecting and 
deterring immigration benefit fraud. In order to support this DHS 
statutory mandate, USCIS collects applicant, petitioner, and 
beneficiary information to adjudicate applications and petitions so 
that immigration benefits are only granted to eligible individuals in 
an accurate, efficient, and timely manner. This information is also 
used to determine if and when those benefits should be rescinded or 
revoked.
    In 2004, USCIS established FDNS in response to a Congressional 
recommendation to establish an organization ``responsible for 
developing, implementing, directing, and overseeing the joint USCIS- 
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) anti-fraud initiative 
and conducting law enforcement/background checks on every applicant, 
beneficiary, and petitioner prior to granting immigration benefits.'' 
FDNS fulfills the USCIS mission of enhancing both national security and 
the integrity of the legal immigration system by: (1) Identifying 
threats to national security and public safety posed by those seeking 
immigration benefits; (2) detecting, pursuing, and deterring 
immigration benefit fraud; (3) identifying and removing systemic 
vulnerabilities in the process of the legal immigration system; and (4) 
acting as USCIS's primary conduit for information sharing and 
collaboration with other governmental agencies. FDNS also oversees a 
strategy to promote a balanced operation that distinguishes USCIS's 
administrative authority, responsibility, and jurisdiction from ICE's 
criminal investigative authority.
    FDNS serves as the primary liaison between USCIS and the law 
enforcement and intelligence communities. This effort includes 
establishing and developing relationships and collaborating with law 
enforcement, intelligence, and federal, state, and local agencies to 
ensure criminals, terrorists, and other individuals who pose a threat 
to national security and/or public safety are not able to exploit the 
immigration system to gain access to, or remain in, the United States. 
In addition, FDNS works with Immigration Services Officers (ISOs) on 
cases of suspected fraud and where the security vetting process has 
indicated possible national security or public safety-related concerns.
    FDNS uses Fraud Detection and National Security Data System (FDNS-
DS) to record, track, and manage the background check process related 
to immigration applications and petitions, as well as information 
related to beneficiary applications with suspected or confirmed fraud, 
criminal activity, public safety and/or national security concerns, and 
cases randomly selected for benefit fraud assessments. FDNS-DS 
maintains information on all individuals who have been reviewed for 
these concerns. In instances where no fraud, criminal activity, public 
safety and/or national security concerns were found, the information 
maintained will only be used to demonstrate that an assessment was 
conducted so additional resources do not have be used for a second 
review.
    FDNS may share FDNS records with law enforcement and intelligence 
agencies in response to Requests for Information (RFIs) to support 
criminal and administrative investigations and background checks 
involving immigrant benefit fraud, criminal activity, and public safety 
and/or national security concerns. For example, information may be 
shared with the Department of State (DoS), Bureau of Consular Affairs 
to provide a comprehensive picture of a visa applicant's status, and to 
reduce the likelihood that an individual or group might fraudulently 
obtain an immigration benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act 
(INA), as amended. Also, selected ICE representatives have access to 
certain FDNS records for purposes of criminal investigations. This 
system of records notice covers not only those records maintained in 
FDNS-DS, but also those maintained in other IT systems developed 
specifically for FDNS, such as a collaborative workspace, and paper 
files. The controls and rules associated with the data remain 
consistent across these different physical types of records.
    Separately, DHS is publishing a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) on 
the functions of FDNS, which can be found at www.dhs.gov/privacy.
    USCIS is republishing this SORN to provide public notice of the 
following: (1) The name of the system has been updated to FDNS Records 
to reflect that it covers not only records in FDNS-DS but also other 
information technology systems created specifically for FDNS and paper 
records; (2) location of the system has been updated to include not 
only FDNS-DS but the records maintained in collaborative workspaces and 
paper files; (3) categories of individuals has been updated to clarify 
that this system only covers those who are or have been the subject of 
an inquiry; (4) categories of records has been updated to clarify what 
information may be collected on Representatives and Preparers in the 
system when there are indicia of fraud or national security concerns 
connected with their appearance before USCIS; (5) authorities under 
which this system runs have been updated; (6) routine uses have been 
updated with minor changes to be consistent with other DHS systems of 
records; and (7) sources of records have been updated to include 
publicly available information on the Internet.
    Previously, DHS issued a final rule published on August 31, 2009 at 
6 CFR part 5, appendix C, paragraph 32 exempting this system from 
certain provisions of the Privacy Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). 
The updates to this SORN do not necessitate a republication of the 
exemptions. As noted in the final rule to the extent FDNS maintains 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. This updated system

[[Page 47413]]

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 federal 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 U.S. citizens and lawful 
permanent residents (LPRs). As a matter of policy, DHS extends 
administrative Privacy Act protections to all individuals where systems 
of records maintain information on U.S. citizens, LPRs, 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.
    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 record, and to assist individuals to more easily find such files 
within the agency. Below is the description of the DHS/USCIS-006 FDNS 
SORN.
    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-006

System name:
    DHS/USCIS-006 Fraud Detection and National Security Records.

Security classification:
    Unclassified.

System location:
    Records are maintained in the IT system FDNS-DS, other information 
technology systems developed to support FDNS, and paper files at the 
USCIS Headquarters in Washington, DC and field offices.

Categories of individuals covered by the system:
    Categories of individuals covered by this system include: (1) 
Individuals who are the subjects of administrative and/or criminal 
investigations; (2) individuals who have submitted potentially 
fraudulent petitions and applications for immigration benefits; (3) 
individuals whose petitions or applications have been randomly selected 
for assessment of the effectiveness of fraud detection programs; (4) 
individuals of concern based on possible national security reasons, 
public safety concerns, or criminal activity; (5) preparers, 
representatives, and petitioning organizations that may have submitted 
applications or petitions on behalf of individuals noted in the above 
four categories; (6) individuals who are associated with an application 
but are not actually applying for a benefit; and (7) individuals 
associated with cases that were investigated but determined not to pose 
any concern.

Categories of records in the system:
    Categories of records in this system include:
     Individual's name;
     Alias(es);
     Social Security Number (SSN);
     Alien Number (A-Number);
     Associated A-Numbers of close relatives and associates;
     Application Receipt Number;
     Address (home and business);
     Date of birth;
     Place of birth;
     Driver's License number;
     Country of citizenship;
     Citizenship status;
     Gender;
     Telephone number(s);
     Email address;
     Place of employment and employment history;
     Associated organizations (e.g., corporate information 
relating to employing entity if employment-based immigration benefits 
are being sought, and place of business or place of worship if such 
organization is sponsoring the applicant);
     Family lineage;
     Bank account information and/or financial transaction 
history;
     Marriage record;
     Civil or criminal history information;
     Information on social media Web sites and other 
information publicly available on the Internet;
     Education record;
     Information from commercial data providers in order to 
verify information provided on the application;
     Biometric identifiers (e.g., photographic facial image, 
fingerprints, signature, etc);
     Investigation or background check information generated by 
DHS/CBP TECS National Crime Information Center, other government 
agencies, and other data and analysis generated as part of the 
adjudication process;
     Other unique identifying numbers or characteristics such 
as passport number(s), visa number(s), account numbers, and other 
identifiers associated with travel; and
     Representative and Preparer information maintained in the 
G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as an Attorney or Accredited 
Representative
    [cir] Name
    [cir] Address
    [cir] Phone number
    [cir] Fax number
    [cir] Email address
    [cir] Bar number
    [cir] State of bar membership
    [cir] Date of filing
    [cir] Associated client case information

    Note: FDNS may gather additional data on Representatives or 
Preparers that are the subject or associated with a fraud, public 
safety, or national security concern based on applications submitted 
on behalf of individuals seeking an immigration benefit.

Authority for maintenance of the system:
    The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended (INA), 8 
U.S.C. 1101, et seq. provides the legal authority to collect 
information used for the adjudication of immigration benefits. In 
addition to other delegations, the Secretary of Homeland Security in 
Homeland Security Delegation No. 0150.1 paragraphs (H), (I), (J), (M), 
and (S) has delegated the following authorities to USCIS:
     Authority under section 103(a)(1) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 
1103(a)(1), to administer the immigration laws (as defined in section 
101(a)(17) of the INA).
     Authority to investigate alleged civil and criminal 
violations of the immigration laws, including but not limited to 
alleged fraud with respect to applications or determinations within the 
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) [predecessor to 
USCIS] and make recommendations for prosecutions or other appropriate 
action when deemed advisable.
     Authority to fingerprint and register aliens.
     Authority to maintain files and records systems as 
necessary.
     Authority to take and consider evidence.
    In addition, the joint USCIS-ICE anti-fraud strategy was 
recommended by the Conference Report, FY 2005 Appropriations Act. The 
Appropriations

[[Page 47414]]

Act authorized USCIS to conduct law enforcement and background checks 
on every applicant, beneficiary, and petitioner prior to granting 
immigration benefits.

Purpose(s):
    The purpose of this system is to support USCIS' efforts to 
strengthen the integrity of the nation's legal immigration system and 
to ensure that immigration benefits are not granted to individuals who 
may pose a threat to national security and/or public safety. In 
addition, FDNS is responsible for detecting, deterring, and combatting 
immigration benefit fraud.

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 the Department of Justice (including United States Attorney 
Offices) or other federal agency conducting litigation or in 
proceedings before any court, adjudicative or administrative body, when 
it is relevant or 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.
    B. To a congressional office from the record of an individual in 
response to a written inquiry from that congressional office made 
pursuant to a Privacy Act waiver from the individual to whom the record 
pertains.
    C. To the National Archives and Records Administration or General 
Services Administration pursuant to records management inspections 
being conducted under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906.
    D. To an agency or organization 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 
individuals who 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 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 federal and foreign government intelligence or 
counterterrorism agencies when USCIS reasonably believes there to be a 
threat or potential threat to national or international security for 
which the information may be useful in countering the threat or 
potential threat, when DHS reasonably believes such use is to assist in 
anti-terrorism efforts.
    I. To the Department of State in the processing of petitions or 
applications for benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 
and all other immigration and nationality laws including treaties and 
reciprocal agreements.
    J. To the news media and the public, with the approval of the Chief 
Privacy Officer in consultation with counsel, when there exists a 
legitimate public interest in the disclosure of the information or when 
disclosure is necessary to preserve confidence in the integrity of DHS 
or is necessary to demonstrate the accountability of DHS's officers, 
employees, or individuals covered by the system, except to the extent 
it is determined that release of the specific information in the 
context of a particular case would constitute an unwarranted invasion 
of personal privacy.

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 utilizing multiple data points that 
include an individual's last name, A-Number, Application Receipt 
Number, Date of Birth, or other unique identifier.

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. FDNS-DS maintains a real-time 
auditing function of individuals who access the system.

Retention and disposal:
    FDNS records have a retention period of 15 years from the date of 
the last interaction between FDNS personnel and the individual after 
which time the record will be deleted from FDNS. The 15-year retention 
schedule provides FDNS with access to information that is critical to 
the investigation of suspected or confirmed fraud, criminal activity, 
egregious public safety, and/or national security concerns. Upon 
closure of a case, any information that is needed to make an 
adjudicative decision (such as a statement of findings report), whether 
there was or was not an indication of fraud, criminal activity, 
egregious public safety, and/or national security concerns, will be 
transferred to the A-File and maintained under the A-File

[[Page 47415]]

retention period of 100 years after the individual's date of birth.

System Manager and address:
    Associate Director of FDNS, United States Citizenship and 
Immigration Services, 111 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 
20529.

Notification procedure:
    The Secretary of Homeland Security has exempted this system from 
the notification, access, amendment, and certain accounting procedures 
of the Privacy Act. These exemptions also apply to the extent that 
information in this system of records is recompiled or is created from 
information contained in other systems of records. As noted below, 
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. 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. 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, 
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 Director, 
Disclosure and FOIA, http://www.dhs.gov or 1-866-431-0486. In addition 
you should provide:
     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; and
     Provide any other information that will help the FOIA 
staff determine which DHS component agency may have responsive records.
    If your request seeks 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 the above bulleted information DHS 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:
    Parties who file USCIS applications supply the basic information 
contained in this system. Other information comes from petitions, law 
enforcement and intelligence agencies, public institutions, interviews 
of witnesses, public records, sworn statements, official reports, 
commercial data aggregators, publicly available information on the 
Internet, and from members of the general public.

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 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: July 31, 2012.
Mary Ellen Callahan,
Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security.
[FR Doc. 2012-19337 Filed 8-7-12; 8:45 am]
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