Visa Programs for High-Skilled Workers

AILA v. DHS, No. 10-01224 (D.D.C. Mar. 30, 2012)


On behalf of AILA, the American Immigration Council, in cooperation with counsel at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, filed a FOIA lawsuit against DHS and USCIS in July 2010 seeking the public release of records concerning agency policies and procedures related to fraud investigations in the H-1B program. There was significant public interest in these records because USCIS’s H-1B practices have caused confusion and concern among U.S. businesses that legitimately depend on temporary foreign workers with specialized knowledge to operate successfully.

The complaint alleged that defendants violated FOIA when they wrongfully withheld information responsive to two FOIA requests and failed to timely respond to AILA’s requests. The complaint asked the court to enjoin defendants from continuing to withhold responsive documents and to declare that the requested records are not exempt from disclosure.

Following the release of some heavily redacted documents by USCIS and  an exchange of summary judgment motions by both sides, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a lengthy decision in March 2012 denying the government’s motion and partially granting AILA’s motion. The court found the government’s privilege log to be inadequate and ordered the agency to better explain its claimed exemptions in the form of a revised Vaughn index. Subsequently, USCIS agreed to disclose the documents in full.

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  • On behalf of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Council, in cooperation with counsel at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, filed a FOIA lawsuit in July...

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