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Gibbs dhs foia request 2015 10-12[6]

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Bob Gibbs FOIA request regarding October 2015 Visa Bulletin switch

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Gibbs dhs foia request 2015 10-12[6]

  1. 1. Law Offices Gibbs Houston Pauw 1000 Second Avenue Suite 1600 Seattle WA 98104 (206) 682-1080 FAX (206) 689 2270 www.ghp-immigration.com Robert H. Gibbs Robert Pauw Erin Cipolla Ralph Hua Devin Theriot-Orr Neha Vyas October 12, 2015 VIA FEDERAL EXPRESS Karen Neuman Chief Privacy Officer/Chief FOIA Officer The Privacy Office U.S. Department of Homeland Security 245 Murray Lane SW STOP-0655 Washington, D.C. 20528-0655 Dr. James V.M.L. Holzer, CIPP/G Sr. Director, FOIA Operations The Privacy Office U.S. Department of Homeland Security 245 Murray Lane SW STOP-0655 Washington, D.C. 20528-0655 Re: October 2015 Visa Bulletin Dear Sir or Madam: We are writing to make a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552. We are seeking this information on our behalf for our personal, non-commercial use. For purposes of this FOIA request, the following definitions apply: • The term “Agency” means the United States Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and any or all of its subdivisions and departments, including but not limited to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), the Office of the DHS Secretary, the Director of USCIS, USCIS Service Center Operations, and USCIS Field Operations.
  2. 2. • The term “Decision” refers to the decision by the Department of State (“DOS”) in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security to replace the October 2015 visa bulletin dated September 9, 2015 with a new version dated September 25, 2015. • The words “document” and “documents” are used herein in the broadest sense permissible under the Freedom of Information Act and any applicable case law construing that statute. The terms include, without limitation, any “writing” as that term is defined in Rule 1001 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, and any original and non-identical copy of any and all written, typed, computer, mechanical, photographic, printed, magnetic, audio, video and other electronic recordings or records and/or other tangible records and forms of recorded information, however produced or reproduced, including but not limited to all letters, correspondence, interoffice communications, electronic correspondence such as “e-mail,” and other communications recorded in any form or medium. All non-identical copies (whether different from the original by reason of notations made on such copies or otherwise) are separate documents within the meaning of the term. The term also includes information, stored in, or accessible through, computer or other information retrieval systems, together with instructions and all materials necessary to retrieve, use or interpret such data. Where documents are available in Excel spreadsheets, we intend this request to obtain these documents in electronic format with necessary logins and passwords for access of the data. “Document” includes all documents as defined above in your possession, custody or control. We hereby request: 1. All communications within the Agency and with any other agency or branch of the United States government or any of its subdivisions regarding the Decision, including the Executive Office of the President, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Justice. This request includes, but is not limited to, all communications to or from (including by copy) Felicia Escobar, Manar Waheed, David Shahoulian, Ur Jaddou, Charles Oppenheim, and Nick Perry regarding the Decision. 2. All documents reflecting any communications regarding the Decision after September 25, 2015. See, e.g., In re Sealed Case, 121 F.3d 729, 737 (D.C. Cir. 1997) (documents protected by decisional process privilege must be “predecisional”). 3. All documents relating to communications that the Agency had or steps that the Agency took (whether within the Agency or with other U.S. government agencies or branches) regarding the initiative to revise "the monthly Visa Bulletin to better estimate immigrant visa availability for prospective applicants" and "ensure that the maximum number of available visas is issued every year, while also minimizing the potential for visa retrogression," as described at page 29 of the White House report titled "Modernizing & Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st Century," available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/final_visa_modernization_report1.pd f. This request includes all documents relating to any changes in the data, analysis or methodology underlying the calculation of the operative dates for purposes of the visa bulletin. This request includes, but is not limited to, all communications to or from (including by copy) Felicia Escobar, Manar Waheed, David Shahoulian, Ur Jaddou,
  3. 3. Charles Oppenheim, and Nick Perry regarding the visa bulletin initiative described in the White House report cited in this paragraph. 4. All documents reflecting the Agency’s consultations with the Department of State referenced in the September 25, 2015 version of the October 2015 visa bulletin. This request includes any communication by DHS (and supporting documents) requesting that DOS “republish the Bulletin for October with all Dates for Filing Visa Applications retrogressed to where DOS anticipates the Final Action Dates are likely to be in 8 to 12 months,” as described in the Government’s opposition to plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order in Mehta v. U.S. Dept. of State, Case No. 2:15-cv-1543-RSM (W.D. Wash. Sept. 30, 2015). 5. All documents regarding the methodology and data by which the Agency determined (whether or not in conjunction with other agencies or branches of the United States government) that the dates provided in the September 9, 2015, version of the October 2015 visa bulletin should be revised. This request includes but is not limited to any communications with any other U.S. government agency or branch regarding concerns with the filing dates listed in the September 9 visa bulletin and any communications regarding whether those dates were inconsistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”). 6. All documents regarding the legal necessity of or legal basis for the Decision, including any determination that the Decision was consistent with or required by the INA or that the dates listed in the September 9, 2015 version of the October 2015 visa bulletin were inconsistent with the INA or any section thereof (including Section 245). 7. All documents reflecting the methodology and data by which the Agency determined or assisted in determining the number of family-sponsored preference and employment- based preference visas available in Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016 under the INA, including any calculations made, methods for calculating those numbers, and communications regarding the calculation of those numbers. 8. All documents reflecting the methodology and data bywhich the Agency determined or assisted in determining the “Dates for Filing Employment-Based Visa Applications” or the “Application Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases” in both the September 9 and September 25, 2015 versions of the October 2015 visa bulletin. 9. All documents regarding the estimated or actual number of applications for adjustment of status by preference category, country of birth, and priority date received by USCIS in Fiscal Year 2015 or to be received by USCIS in Fiscal Year 2016. 10. All documents reflecting any estimates of the potential or actual consequences of the Decision, including but not limited to any estimates of the potential economic harm to individuals or entities stemming from the changes between the September 9 and September 25, 2015 versions of the October 2015 visa bulletin. 11. All documents concerning the timing and mechanics of the issuance of the September 25, 2015 version of the October 2015 visa bulletin. 12. All documents concerning “[h]istorical drop off rate of applicants for adjustment of status (for example, denials, withdrawals and abandonments)” as referenced at http://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo. Such information is intended to include any underlying data by year showing the dropoff numbers and rates by preference category, priority date, and country of birth.
  4. 4. 13. All documents reflecting the methodology and data by which the Agency determined or assisted another agency in determining the cutoff dates listed in the chart in the Employment-Based Preferences section of the visa bulletins from October 2014 through September 2015. 14. All documents concerning any instance in which the “information underlying the estimates of cut-off dates” in the visa bulletin has been determined to be incorrect by the Agency (whether or not in conjunction with any other U.S. government agency or branch), as referenced by the Government’s opposition to plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order in Mehta v. U.S. Dept. of State, Case No. 2:15-cv-1543-RSM (W.D. Wash. Sept. 30, 2015). 15. All documents concerning the methodology by which the Agency has ever calculated or assisted another government agency or branch in the calculation of a “qualifying date” as described in 9 FAM 42.55 PN1.1. 16. All documents reflecting the methodology and data behind DOS’s estimation of “where cut-off dates are likely to be in the next 8 to 12 months” for purposes of calculating a qualifying date, as referenced in the Declaration of Charles Oppenheim submitted in Mehta v. U.S. Dept. of State, Case No. 2:15-cv-1543-RSM (W.D. Wash. Sept. 30, 2015). 17. All documents concerning DOS’s “policy” of not retrogressing qualifying dates when corresponding cut-off dates have retrogressed, as referenced in the Declaration of Charles Oppenheim submitted in Mehta v. U.S. Dept. of State, Case No. 2:15-cv-1543-RSM (W.D. Wash. Sept. 30, 2015). 18. All documents concerning any and all “qualifying dates” for employment-based visas in Fiscal Years 2015 or 2016, including any contemplated or actual revisions to those “qualifying dates” resulting from the Decision. 19. All documents concerning the number of “documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas” reported by consular officers or “applicants for adjustment of status” in Fiscal Years 2015 or 2016, as referenced in the September 2015 and October 2015 visa bulletins. 20. A copy of the waiting list maintained pursuant to INA §203(e)(3) as of September 1, 2015. 21. A copy of the waiting list maintained pursuant to INA §203(e)(3) as of October 1, 2015. We are willing to pay all applicable fees for this request up to the amount of $1,500. Please contact us if you anticipate that the fees for the request will exceed this figure. We look forward to your prompt action concerning this request. Please send all documents to the address listed in our signature block. If you have any questions or concerns about this request, please do not hesitate to contact us at the phone number above. Sincerely, Robert H. Gibbs GIBBS HOUSTON PAUW

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