Lawsuit Demands Response to FOIAs Seeking Data About Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Adjudications

American Immigration Council v. USCIS et. al., No. 1:19-cv-00983 (D.D.C filed April 9, 2019)


The American Immigration Council brings this Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) challenge against a backdrop of sweeping changes U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has instituted in the adjudication of petitions for foreign-born workersthose that would be employed temporarily and permanently—under the Trump administration. The agency now more frequently requests additional evidence, requiring onerous and time-consuming responses, in support of petitions that are already sufficiently supported by evidence. It also has introduced policies that allow adjudicators greater discretion to deny petitions without requesting additional evidence or providing notice of the intent to deny petitions. And it denies petitions at a significantly greater rate. 

With the data sought through the requests, the Council hopes to better understand USCIS’ adjudication of employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant petitions and how the adjudication process has evolved over multiple years. In addition, the requested data will allow Council researchers to analyze the impact of these trends on petitioners, beneficiaries, and industries. The Council aims to make the data and analysis publicly available in order to contribute to public understanding of how USCIS adjudicates petitions that allow qualified noncitizen workers to be lawfully employed in the United States. 

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  • Under the Trump administration, we have seen an uptick in requests for additional information about petitions filed by U.S. employers on behalf of foreign-born workers. We also have seen greater numbers of denials of these petitions. According to the employers and their workers, these trends reflect unlawful adjudications across the board. In response to these changes, the Council filed two Freedom in Information Act requests.

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