On July 18, 2023, the Galati Law Firm filed suit against USCIS for their blatant violation of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) with respect to ignoring a FOIA Request made by the American Immigrant Investor Alliance (“AIIA”).
In April 2023, USCIS made waves with a stakeholder engagement that was widely panned as an “Orwellian” failure to meaningfully engage with the community. One overlooked part of the engagement was a question posed seeking I-526/I-526E receipt data by TEA category/country, for the purpose of monitoring and avoiding backlogs in the new visa set asides. Responding on behalf of USCIS, IPO Division Chief Kevin Muck responded that interested stakeholders should consult the Visa Bulletin, which reports all set-aside categories as current. Such was the case in April and it remains the same through August.
Mr. Muck’s answer was, at best, ignorant of how visa backlogs develop. At worst, it was a bad faith attempt to mislead stakeholders about growing visa demand. Perhaps the best analysis of this issue and the dangers associated with Mr. Muck’s response was written by EB-5 luminary Suzanne Lazicki in the form of an open letter to Mr. Muck.
In May, AIIA sprang into action, issuing a FOIA Request seeking the data requested during the stakeholder call. Despite putting the FOIA Request into its “simple track”, USCIS failed to timely respond within 20 business days, as required by the statute.
So, again, we must sue USCIS for their continued flagrant violations of the law. This is our third such suit on behalf of AIIA. A copy of the Complaint is attached. USCIS’ answer will be due on or around August 21.
You can read more about the lawsuit and the Alliance’s take on USCIS reporting on their blog. AIIA has and continues to do amazing advocacy work for the EB-5 immigrant investor community and we strongly encourage you to donate to their cause.
Special thanks to Suzanne Lazicki for her tireless work in reporting EB-5 developments, essentially serving as the industry’s de facto investigative reporter. We also appreciate her letting us borrow her airline analogy for the Complaint. Suzanne’s blog is a must-read for every EB-5 stakeholder and it too deserves your support.
For more information about FOIA litigation, contact us today.