Whenever I have a new client that has had dealings with immigration, I usually do a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Under the FOIA law, anyone can ask a the Government for a copy of their immigration file, which is called “the A File.” Immigration lawyers are permitted to do FOIA requests on behalf of their clients.
Recently, I received a response to a FOIA request and documents were intentionally omitted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS). His prior wife had filed a visa petition for him and the visa petition was denied, but the visa denial was redacted from the FOIA response, so that we did not know why it was denied. I appealed the redaction of the FOIA request and demanded that the visa denial be provided. The CIS agreed with me and provided me with the documents that I requested. The non-redacted information turned out to be helpful to the client’s case.