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USCIS FOIA/PA Appeals Office 150 Space Center Loop Suite 500 Lee's Summit, MO.

64064-2139

Oct. 21, 2009

To Whom It May Concern, This letter is an appeal of the determination in the matter of my FOIA request (NRC2009041663.) On September 29, 2009, I received 52 pages in response to my request, 23 of which contained significant deletions and redactions. I was originally told that there were more than 60 pages pertaining to my subject of interest. I would argue that those omissions and deletions specifically violate President Obama's memo to heads of federal agencies requiring a new era of openness in government as articulated on January 21, 2009. Additionally, I would argue that the deletions are inconsistent and subjective as the other pages that were released to me contained significant personal detail and were not deleted. I would ask that this appeal be expedited as swiftly as possible. I am writing a book related to this material and my deadline for completion is immediate. In order to make use of this information it is imperative that it be received as soon as possible.

To be more specific about the grounds of my appeal, in President Obama's memo regarding the Freedom Of Information Act, he specifically called on all agencies to adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure. The Government, he said, should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Regarding the portions of the pages I received that were deleted/redacted, those making the decisions seemed to have acted quite arbitrarily and in violation of the intent of the law. In some cases, the signature on a letter is whited out, in other cases they are not. In some cases, the very titles of individuals employed by institutions such as Harvard University which are publicly available are whited out, while the signature/names of INS staffers on internal memos are not concealed. This seems inconsistent and unfair. I would argue that as many of the names are visible, they should all be. So, too, with facts on those pages. The pages I received contain a wide variety of personal detail ranging from the details of the subject's employment and financial state, to his multiple marriages. Why, then, are other aspects deleted? Finally, I would ask that any and all pages germane to my subject which were not included in those that I received, be provided in full with no deletions whatsoever. That would seem to be directly in the spirit of what our President has required. Thank you. I can be reached at (b) (6) Address: Sally Jacobs

(b) (6) or at (b) (6)

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Washington, DC 20528

Homeland Security
Office of General Counsel

December 23, 2009 Ms. Sally Jacobs

(b) (6)

FOIA Appeal Case Number: APP2009001258 Dear Ms. Jacobs: This letter is in response to your correspondence dated October 21, 2009, in which you appealed the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determination that 52 pages were responsive to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request (NRC2009041663), and that portions of 23 of those pages were withheld pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(6). Specifically, you have requested the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) review individual redactions associated with the processing of USCIS FOIA request NRC2009041663 and that a second search for responsive records be conducted. You stated in your letter of October 21, 2009 that you were, told that there were more than 60 pages pertaining to my subject of interest. Based on my review of the administrative action taken in response to this request, we revisited the search for responsive records conducted by the USCIS FOIA Office at the National Records Center. Enclosed please find 4 additional pages of records responsive to request number NRC2009041663 that were previously determined to be non-responsive to your original request. Three of these pages (pages 22-24 of the attached file) contain substantive information, and the fourth page is the administrative page denoting the last page of the file (page 56). Therefore, there are 56 total pages responsive to your request. Please note that portions of three of the additional pages are withheld pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(6). We also reviewed the redactions made pursuant to Exemption 6 in the initial determination. Please note the insertion of 3 pages after page 21 of the original, 52-page file (as they were found in the physical A-file) altered the numbering of the pages. As such, the page numbering from pages 22-56 changed, and the page numbers from the original file sent to you are referenced herein. After review, I have upheld the redactions made pursuant to Exemption 6 on pages 7, 12, 20 and 48 in full, redactions made on pages 21 and 33 in part and have released additional information on pages 5, 6, 8, 13, 15, 17, 18, 23, 29, 31, 33, 34, 39, 42 and 46. A more complete explanation of Exemption 6 is provided below. Exemption 6 of the FOIA exempts from disclosure personnel or medical files and similar files the release of which would cause a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

Performing the analysis under Exemption 6 requires the balancing of the publics right to disclosure against the individuals right to privacy. After performing this analysis, we have determined that the privacy interest in the identity of the individual(s) in the records you have requested outweigh any minimal public interest in disclosure of the information. Please note that any private interest you may have in that information does not factor into the aforementioned balancing test. This is the final decision on your appeal. I am the DHS official responsible for this decision. Should you choose to do so, you may seek judicial review of this decision pursuant to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(B) in the United States District Court in the district in which you reside, or in which the agency records are located, or in the District of Columbia.
Sincerely,

John R. Sandweg Chief of Staff Office of General Counsel Enclosure: Responsive records, APP2009001258

www.dhs.gov

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