L-1B Adjudications FOIA

In May 2012, the American Immigration Council filed a FOIA request seeking records issued by USCIS and/or DHS, or used by USCIS and/or DHS, from January 2008 to the present, to instruct, train and/or guide (1) Immigration Service Officers or (2) employees of the Department of State, including but not limited to consular officers, on the adjudication of L-1B intracompany transferee petitions, including but not limited to the interpretation of the term “specialized knowledge”. In October 2012, USCIS produced documents in its possession as of May 14, 2012, the date it began its records search. The documents produced do not appear to have been intended for use outside of USCIS. The Council did not receive any documents from USCIS concerning instruction, training or guidance for Department of State employees.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association also obtained training materials used by USCIS for L-1 adjudications, courtesy of AILA member Eric Bord. While there is some overlap, the two productions yield more information when viewed as a whole. For example, the AILA production includes what appears to be the text of a (presumably PowerPoint) training presentation, with corresponding slide numbers, entitled “Policy Guidance on the Interpretation of the L-1B Specialized Knowledge Classification,” likely prepared with input from the USCIS Office of Chief Counsel, although USCIS withheld the slides themselves from this production and from the Council. However, USCIS produced to the Council a few pages of a draft, which identifies the Office of Chief Counsel as a participant, and corresponds to text in the training presentation, with the remainder withheld and labeled “Draft-Do-Not Disclose-Pre-Decisional.”

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