Federal Court Litigation & FOIA
Now, more than ever, the reasons to file a complaint in Federal District Court are many.
How we help: Our immigration attorneys have represented individuals in mandamus suits to compel government action in cases involving long-delayed applications for immigration benefits including naturalization, adjustment of status, and asylum. Where government agencies have acted in a manner that is arbitrary and capricious, or otherwise contrary to law, we may file a claim under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Where agency action falls short of the legal requirements imposed by Congress, holding the government accountable through a private action in Federal Court, may well be a viable solution.
Immigration and FOIA
Our attorneys have also engaged in Federal Court litigation involving the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The FOIA is a law that gives individuals the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens “in the know” about their government. In the immigration context, FOIA allows individuals with long and complicated immigration histories to obtain records from the government regarding past applications for benefits, requests for relief, and interactions with law enforcement.
Although an individual has a right to records about their person, the government also has a right to withhold certain information under very specific exceptions to the FOIA, including national security and records related to an agency’s decision-making process. Any ambiguity as to whether the information should be released must be resolved in the FOIA applicant’s favor.
How we help: Our attorneys push for the release of all responsive, non-exempt records. Through thorough applications and appeals, we have been successful in obtaining the release of hundreds of additional pages of FOIA records from USCIS, ICE, EOIR, and other government agencies. Our attorneys obtained a favorable decision in a FOIA matter in Federal District Court; the Honorable Judge John Bates ordered USCIS to release previously withheld records for his “in camera” review. During “in camera” review, the judge looks at the withheld information to ensure that the agency only withheld information that properly fell within exceptions to the FOIA. You can read more about this victory and also access the Judge’s decision.
To speak with an immigration attorney about litigation or FOIA issues contact Grossman Young & Hammond.