A federal magistrate judge has agreed with requesters in the Northern District of California on a complaint against the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("CIS") pattern and practice of not responding to FOIA requests for information concerning requester's citizenship status in a timely fashion.
The underlying issue concerns appeals of CIS decisions -- as there is no discovery, those seeking to file papers for citizenship or appeal denials must also file FOIA requests for the information held by the government. Plaintiffs stated that CIS does not fulfill the requests in a timely manner as dictated by the FOIA statute, and thus individuals suffer a due process violation in the immigration hearings. Plaintiffs filed the declarations of 26 other immigration attorneys who have suffered the same delays. The Court agreed that the agency has a pattern and practice of failing to follow the FOIA and ordered it to process the requests of the requester in this case pursuant to the time dictated by the FOIA statute.
A copy of the case can be found here.