[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 62 (Friday, March 31, 2006)]
[Pages 16326-16328]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-4699]



Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement


Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records

AGENCY: Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Department of 
Homeland Security

ACTION: Notice of Privacy Act system of records.


SUMMARY: The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the 
Department of Homeland Security is creating a new system of records to 
be used in the management of case and document information by attorneys 
working for the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor in the 
preparation and presentation of cases for a court or adjudicative body 
before which the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the 
Department of Homeland Security is authorized or required to appear.

DATES: The new system of records will be effective May 1, 2006, unless 
comments are received that result in a contrary determination.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number, by one 
of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: William C. Birkett, Chief, Knowledge Management 
Division, Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, Immigration and 
Customs Enforcement, 425 I Street, NW., Washington, DC 20536; Chief 
Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security, 601 South 12th 
Street, Arlington, VA 22202-4220.
     Fax: (202) 514-0455 (not toll-free).
     Hand Delivery/Courier: Department of Homeland Security, 
245 Murray Lane, SW., Building 410, Washington, DC 20528.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William C. Birkett, Chief, Knowledge 
Management Division, Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, Immigration 
and Customs Enforcement, 425 I Street, NW., Washington, DC 20536, at 
(202) 514-6761.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Interested persons are invited to 
participate in this rulemaking by submitting written data, views, or 
arguments on all aspects of this notice. Comments that will provide the 
most assistance to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 
developing these procedures will reference a specific portion of the 
notice, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include 
data, information, or authority that support such recommended change.
    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.
    In accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974, as 
amended, 5 U.S.C. 552a, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is 
giving notice that it proposes to implement a new system of records 
entitled ``the General Counsel Electronic Management System'' (GEMS). 
This system will consist of information that is created and used by 
attorneys working for ICE in the preparation and presentation of cases 
for a court or adjudicative body before which ICE or DHS is authorized 
or required to appear. The system will supplement and ultimately 
replace the current attorney work product paper files that are 
primarily stored and managed in the hardcopy alien file commonly known 
as the ``A-file.''
    The ICE Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) is responsible 
for the prosecution and/or management of cases before the federal 
courts, immigration courts, and other tribunals where immigration case 
matters are presented. Because of its significant caseload, OPLA is 
presented with a tremendous data management problem. Recent changes to 
the immigration laws and increasing numbers of cases require changes 
and improved efficiency in the maintenance of case records and attorney 
work product regarding immigration matters. The proposed system will 
provide OPLA attorneys and other DHS and Department of Justice (DOJ) 
attorneys, who have a need for this information in the performance of 
their duties representing the agency real time, access to documents and 
attorney notes concerning the status and processing of immigration 
matters to multiple authorized users at their desktops and greatly 
reduce their reliance on the need to access the paper A-file.
    GEMS consists of customized off-the-shelf software that has been 
developed to meet the growing needs for information management in the 
attorney field operations and attorney management offices of ICE. 
Although records will be maintained in GEMS by alien registration 
number, GEMS will provide attorneys and their supervisors with the 
ability to collect and locate case information without complete 
reliance on the physical A-file. In addition to maintaining 
investigative materials collected for the adjudication of immigration 
cases, GEMS will allow attorneys to store their case notes, other 
hearing related information, and briefs and memoranda related to cases. 
This should not only facilitate the work of the ICE attorneys involved 
in the case, but should also provide a legal resource for other 
attorneys who may be working on similar matters. The system will also 
provide management capabilities for tracking time and effort expended 
in the preparation and presentation of cases for a court or 
adjudicative body before which the ICE or DHS is authorized or required 
to appear.
    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 personally identifiable 
information. 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 from which information is 
retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, 
symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual.
    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

[[Page 16327]]

to make agency recordkeeping practices transparent, to notify 
individuals regarding the uses to which personally identifiable 
information is put, and to assist the individual to more easily find 
such files within the agency. Individuals may request 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 
5.21). ICE is hereby publishing the description of the GEMS system of 
records. In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(r), a report of this new 
system of records has been provided to the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) and to the Congress.

    General Counsel Electronic Management System (GEMS).

    Unclassified and classified.

    This system of records is under the control of the Principal Legal 
Advisor, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of 
Homeland Security, in Washington, DC and in the field offices for the 
Office of Principal Legal Advisor located throughout the United States.

    A. Individuals covered by provisions of the Immigration and 
Nationality Act.
    B. Individuals who are under investigation, or who were 
investigated by ICE in the past, or who are suspected of violating the 
criminal or civil provisions of statutes, treaties, Executive Orders, 
and regulations administered by ICE, and witnesses and informants or 
other third parties who may have knowledge of such violations.
    C. ICE attorneys and other employees who have been assigned to 
represent the agency in litigation relating to aliens and other 
individuals whose files are contained in the system.

    A. The system will contain attorney work product consisting of pre-
trial notes, trial notes, post-trial notes, memoranda stating positions 
for litigation in draft or final form, notes to investigators, and 
information from hardcopy and online research.
    B. The system will contain personal identification data such as the 
A-file number, date, and place of birth, date and port of entry, as 
well as the location of each official hardcopy paper file known as the 
    C. The system will contain subsets or complete sets of information 
also contained in the hard copy A-file that may include the alien's 
official record material, such as naturalization certificates; various 
forms (and attachments such as photographs); applications and petitions 
for benefits under the immigration and nationality laws; reports of 
investigations; statements; arrest reports; correspondence; and 
memoranda on each individual for whom ICE has created a record under 
the Immigration and Nationality Act.

    The system is for the benefit of ICE attorneys and attorney 
management to be used for the tracking, processing, and reporting on 
the preparation and presentation of cases for a court or adjudicative 
body before which the ICE or the DHS is authorized to appear. The 
system will enable ICE to carry out its assigned national security, law 
enforcement, immigration control, and other mission related functions 
and to provide associated management reporting, planning and analysis.

    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 other federal, state, tribal, and local government law 
enforcement and regulatory agencies and foreign governments, 
individuals and organizations during the course of an investigation or 
the processing of a matter, or during a proceeding within the purview 
of the immigration and nationality laws, to elicit information required 
by ICE to carry out its functions and statutory mandates.
    B. To the Department of Justice or other federal agency conducting 
litigation or in proceedings before any court, adjudicative or 
administrative body, when: (a) DHS, or (b) any employee of DHS in his/
her official capacity, or (c) any employee of DHS in his/her individual 
capacity where DOJ or DHS has agreed to represent the employee, or (d) 
the United States or any agency thereof, is a party to the litigation 
or has an interest in such litigation, and DHS determines that 
disclosure is relevant and necessary to the litigation.
    C. To a Federal, state, tribal, local or foreign government agency 
in response to its request, in connection with the hiring or retention 
of an employee, the issuance of a security clearance, the reporting of 
an investigation of an employee, the letting of a contract, or the 
issuance of a license, grant, or other benefit by the requesting 
agency, to the extent that the information is relevant and necessary to 
the requesting agency's decision on the matter.
    D. To a Member of Congress or staff acting on the Member's behalf 
when the Member or staff requests the information on behalf of and at 
the request of the individual who is the subject of the record.
    E. To the news media and the public 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 the Department 
or is necessary to demonstrate the accountability of the Department'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.
    F. To the National Archives and Records Administration or other 
federal government agencies in records management inspections conducted 
under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906.
    G. To contractors, grantees, experts, consultants, students, and 
others performing or working on a contract, service, grant, cooperative 
agreement, or other assignment for the Federal Government, when 
necessary to accomplish an agency function related to this system of 
    H. To appropriate government agencies or organizations (regardless 
of whether they are Federal, state, territorial, local, foreign, 
international, or tribal), lawfully engaged in collecting law 
enforcement (whether civil, criminal, or administrative) or 
intelligence information and/or charged with investigating, 
prosecuting, enforcing, or implementing civil and/or criminal laws, 
related rules, regulations, or orders, to enable these entities to 
carry out their law enforcement and intelligence responsibilities.
    I. 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

[[Page 16328]]

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.

    Records in the system will be stored in a central computer 

    Records in the system are indexed and retrieved by an individual's 
alien number, name, case information (such as hearing location and type 
of hearing), and other criteria that can identify an individual in 
proceedings in a court or adjudicative body before which ICE or the DHS 
is authorized to appear.

    ICE offices are located in buildings under security guard, and 
access to premises is by official identification. All electronic 
records are stored in systems that are in offices that are locked 
during non-duty office hours. Access to electronic records is 
controlled by passwords and name identification and access to this 
system is monitored. The system is protected through a multi-layer 
security approach. The protective strategies are physical, technical, 
administrative and environmental in nature and provide access control 
to sensitive data, physical access control to DHS facilities, 
confidentiality of communications, authentication of sending parties, 
and personnel screening to ensure that all personnel with access to 
data are screened through background investigations commensurate with 
the level of access required to perform their duties.

    The retention and disposal requirements for the GEMS database are 
pending approval by the National Archives and Records Administration.

    The System Manager is located in the Office of the Principal Legal 
Advisor, Chief of the Knowledge Management Division, 425 I Street NW., 
Washington, DC 20536.

    Address all inquiries to the system manager identified above.

    To determine whether this system contains records relating to you, 
you may write to the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act (FOIA/PA) 
officer at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Information 
Disclosure Office, 425 I Street, NW., Washington, DC 20536. Requests 
should conform to the requirements of 6 CFR part 5, subpart B, which 
provides the rules for requesting access to Privacy Act records 
maintained by DHS, including the following: The envelope and letter 
should be clearly marked ``Privacy Act Access Request.'' The request 
should include a general description of the records sought and must 
include the requester's full name, current address, and date and place 
of birth. The request must be signed and either notarized or submitted 
under penalty of perjury. The envelope and letter shall be clearly 
marked Privacy Access Request. The request must include a description 
of the general subject matter, the related file number if known, and 
any other identifying information that may be of assistance in locating 
the record.

    Same as ``Record Notification Procedures'' above.

    The information in this system is supplied by attorneys and others 
providing legal support to ICE for the adjudication of cases. Other 
information in this system is derived from the alien file maintained on 
individuals, and may include investigative material that provides the 
basis for the legal proceedings.

    The Secretary has exempted this system from subsections (c)(3) and 
(4), (d), (e)(1), (2), and (3), (e)(4)(G) and (H), (e)(5) and (8), and 
(g) of the Privacy Act. These exemptions apply only to the extent that 
records in the system are subject to exemption pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 
Sections 552a (j)(2) and (k)(1) and (k)(2).

    Dated: March 23, 2006.
Maureen Cooney,
Acting Chief Privacy Officer.
 [FR Doc. E6-4699 Filed 3-30-06; 8:45 am]