Dancing Your Way Through Immigration Records

Interested in immigration records? You’re not alone. U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) is on track to receive about 140,000 FOIA requests in the year ending September 20, 2014. Top USCIS FOIA officials recently took time from overseeing records request processing to meet with requesters and FOIA professionals from other agencies, offering tips to requesters … Continue reading Dancing Your Way Through Immigration Records

USCIS Invites Requesters to Stakeholder Meeting

U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) processed a mind-numbing 138,523 FOIA requests in the year ending September 30, 2013. (That’s more than 11,000 requests a month and nearly 600 a day!) Wonder how the agency does it? Searching for best practices on submitting FOIA requests to USCIS for immigration records? Have feedback on how the … Continue reading USCIS Invites Requesters to Stakeholder Meeting

Guest Post: Catching Up with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

We welcome guest bloggers! The following post is from Government Information Specialist Mark H. Graff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: At the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s FOIA, Privacy, and Information Collections branch, we’ve been looking for ways to streamline our internal processes and increase the use of technology to better respond to FOIA requests. … Continue reading Guest Post: Catching Up with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

OGIS Sets Up Shop at IRE

OGIS recently set up a pop-up shop, of sorts, on the West Coast offering one-on-one mini ombuds sessions with journalists and gathering ideas for improving the FOIA process. I’m pleased to have represented OGIS at the annual conference of the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving investigative reporting. The conference, … Continue reading OGIS Sets Up Shop at IRE

FOIA Advisory Committee begins setting priorities

    Expanded oversight of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process, increased proactive disclosure, and reforming—or perhaps eliminating—fees emerged as top priorities of the FOIA Advisory Committee during its inaugural meeting June 24. The committee—comprised of 10 government members and 10 non-governmental members with considerable FOIA expertise—is mandated in the second Open Government National … Continue reading FOIA Advisory Committee begins setting priorities

Improving FOIA Regulations: We Need Your Help!

Developing a common FOIA regulation is one of the commitments of the second Open Government National Action Plan to modernize FOIA. Agency FOIA professionals and regulatory specialists interested in what a common FOIA regulation might look like are invited to a meeting that will kick off the interagency process of developing the regulation. The meeting … Continue reading Improving FOIA Regulations: We Need Your Help!

Customer Service: it’s a Smart Practice—and it’s the Law!

Our last post offers some practical tips for FOIA professionals wishing to incorporate alternative dispute resolution into the FOIA process. We picked up more good ideas later in the American Society of Access Professionals (ASAP) 7th Annual National Training Conference during a session titled “Customer Service—It’s the Law!” The session, which included FOIA professionals Jay … Continue reading Customer Service: it’s a Smart Practice—and it’s the Law!

The 411 on FOIA & the White House

Quick FOIA quiz: Is the White House subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)? Yes. And no. It depends on the function of a particular White House office. Offices within the Executive Office of the President that “wield … substantial authority independent of the President” are subject to FOIA, the Court of Appeals for … Continue reading The 411 on FOIA & the White House

OGIS Director testifies, suggests improvements to FOIA

OGIS Director Miriam Nisbet joined other advocates of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on March 11, testifying before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary about OGIS’s work and two new suggestions the Office has for improving FOIA. OGIS proposes that FOIA be embedded into Federal Information Technology (IT) management across the government. “We suggest … Continue reading OGIS Director testifies, suggests improvements to FOIA

Getting Ready for Sunshine Week

Sunshine Week is less than six weeks away! Agencies, what are you doing to prepare? Last year, Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero sent a message during Sunshine Week to National Archives’ staff reminding them that FOIA is everyone’s responsibility and responding to access requests doesn’t rest solely on the agency’s FOIA and archival … Continue reading Getting Ready for Sunshine Week