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FOIA News: House subcommittee marks up DHS FOIA Efficiency Act of 2015; DHS hit with another putative class action FOIA suit

FOIA News (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Yesterday, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency marked up the DHS FOIA Efficiency Act of 2015, H.R. 1615.   As we noted a few days ago, this legislation would require DHS to, among other things, update its regulations, develop plans to automate its FOIA processing, and issue internal guidance concerning backlog reduction goals.  Three amendments were passed by the subcommittee, none of which significantly change the bill's original mandate.

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On May 11, 2015, a rejected applicant for U.S. citizenship filed a putative class action suit against DHS in the Southern District of Indiana for failing to respond to his FOIA requests concerning his application.  Plaintiff, who alleges that DHS has "a nationwide pattern and practice of failing to respond to FOIA requests within the statutory period," seeks to represent a class of "all pending and future applicants for immigration benefits who are issued a denial from the USCIS Indianapolis Field Office." 

DHS is also a party to an immigration-related, putative class action FOIA lawsuit in the Northern District of California.