DHS Docket No. ICEB-2019-0006

Dharshani Lakmali Jayasinghe filed this request with the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America.
Tracking #


Due Nov. 23, 2020
Est. Completion None
Awaiting Response


From: Dharshani Lakmali Jayasinghe

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

I am writing to request a copy of ALL the PUBLIC COMMENTS that members of the public have submitted on the new proposed rule by the Department of Homeland Security. The new proposed rule is "Establishing a Fixed Time Period of Admission and an Extension of Stay Procedure for Nonimmigrant Academic Students, Exchange Visitors, and Representatives of Foreign Information Media".

Agency/Docket Number: DHS Docket No. ICEB-2019-0006
Docket RIN: 1653-AA78

It would be ideal if all the comments can be included in an Excel spreadsheet. Or you could also provide me the text files. I need the comments to run text analysis on them. So it would be great to receive them in a digital format such as text files or an Excel spreadsheet. I would also like to request any other material / attachments that have been submitted by the public related to this new proposed rule through the comments submission portal.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.


Dharshani Lakmali Jayasinghe

From: Department of Homeland Security

Good afternoon, Attached is our final response to your request.  If you need to contact this office again concerning your request, please provide the DHS reference number. This will enable us to quickly retrieve the information you are seeking and reduce our response time. This office can be reached at 866-431-0486. Regards, DHS Privacy Office
Disclosure & FOIA Program
STOP 0655
Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20528-0655
Telephone:  1-866-431-0486 or 202-343-1743
Fax:  202-343-4011
Visit our FOIA website

From: Department of Homeland Security

December 15, 2020 Dharshani Jayasinghe MuckRock News DEPT MR 104192 411A Highland Ave Somerville, MA 02144 RE:     ICE FOIA Case Number 2021-ICFO-15390 Dear Jayasinghe: This acknowledges receipt of your November 2, 2020, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), for documents regarding ALL the PUBLIC COMMENTS that members of the public have submitted on the new proposed rule by DHS, the new proposed rule is "Establishing a Fixed Time Period of Admission and an Extension of Stay Procedure for Nonimmigrant Academic Students, Exchange Visitors, and Representatives of Foreign Information Media" (see request).  Your request was received in this office on November 2, 2020. Due to the increasing number of FOIA requests received by this office, we may encounter some delay in processing your request. Per Section 5.5(a) of the DHS FOIA regulations, 6 C.F.R. Part 5, ICE processes FOIA requests according to their order of receipt. Although ICE’s goal is to respond within 20 business days of receipt of your request, the FOIA does permit a 10- day extension of this time period. As your request seeks numerous documents that will necessitate a thorough and wide-ranging search, ICE will invoke a 10-day extension for your request, as allowed by Title 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B). If you care to narrow the scope of your request, please contact our office. We will make every effort to comply with your request in a timely manner. Provisions of the FOIA allow us to recover part of the cost of complying with your request.  We shall charge you for records in accordance with the DHS Interim FOIA regulations as they apply to non-commercial requesters.  As a non-commercial requester, you will be charged 10 cents per page for duplication; the first 100 pages are free, as are the first two hours of search time, after which you will pay the per quarter-hour rate ($4.00 for clerical personnel, $7.00 for professional personnel, $10.25 for managerial personnel) of the searcher.  We will construe the submission of your request as an agreement to pay up to $25.00. You will be contacted before any further fees are accrued. We have queried the appropriate program offices within ICE for responsive records. If any responsive records are located, they will be reviewed for determination of releasability. Please be assured that one of the processors in our office will respond to your request as expeditiously as possible. We appreciate your patience as we proceed with your request.
Your request has been assigned reference number 2021-ICFO-15390. Please refer to this identifier in any future correspondence. To check the status of an ICE FOIA/PA request, please visit . Please note that to check the status of a request, you must enter the 2021-ICFO-15390 tracking number. If you need any further assistance or would like to discuss any aspect of your request, please contact the FOIA office. You may send an e-mail to ice-foia@ice.dhs.gov, call toll free (866) 633-1182, or you may contact our FOIA Public Liaison, Fernando Pineiro, in the same manner. Additionally, you have a right to right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) which mediates disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. If you are requesting access to your own records (which is considered a Privacy Act request), you should know that OGIS does not have the authority to handle requests made under the Privacy Act of 1974. You may contact OGIS as follows: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road-OGIS, College Park, Maryland 20740-6001, e-mail at ogis@nara.gov; telephone at 202-741-5770; toll free at 1-877-684-6448; or facsimile at 202-741-5769. (http://www.dhs.gov/foia-status) http://www.dhs.gov/foia-status

Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Freedom of Information Act Office
500 12th Street, S.W., Stop 5009
Washington, D.C. 20536-5009
Telephone: 1-866-633-1182
Visit our FOIA website at www.ice.gov/foia

From: Dharshani Lakmali Jayasinghe


Thank you for getting back to me about my request (reference number 2021-ICFO-15390) regarding DHS Docket No. ICEB-2019-0006.

I am writing with regard to two main points I want to bring to your attention:

1. Obtaining the comments in a format that can be used for text analysis (e.g. plain text, spreadsheet, or digital format) – In my original request, I mentioned the following: “It would be ideal if all the comments can be included in an Excel spreadsheet. Or you could also provide me the text files. I need the comments to run text analysis on them. So it would be great to receive them in a digital format such as text files or an Excel spreadsheet”. I am writing to re-iterate this request and to ask if you could provide me the comments and the attachments to the comments in the form of plain text, spreadsheet, or any other digital format (a CD or DVD with scans, a link to download the content, access to an API so I can duplicate the records myself etc.). Please do not print and send paper – it would not be usable for the text analysis research I’m doing.
2. Request for a full fee waiver of all search and review fees – there are 3 reasons as to why I believe I am eligible for a full waiver of all fees:
i. The content I am requesting fits the statutory criteria for a full waiver as it will be used for research that will “contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester”. Any outcome from working with the requested content will help the public understand better issues underlying the promulgation of certain visa laws, how the public can engage with such proposed laws, and to what extent the public has engaged with these issues during the period allowed for public comment. There is absolutely no commercial interest to me, the requester, in obtaining or researching this content. The specified content is requested for the purpose of educational, scholarly, and research needs. All research and scholarly activity related to the content will be caried out through Stanford University and will be made accessible to the public.
ii. The requested content is of scholarly, historical, and current public interest – The material requested is essential to develop research that is done on visa law and policy, particularly with regard to the J1 and F1 visas. Given the immense current public interest in this issue, as well as the historical significance this issue has held across all elected governments, research grounded on current data is crucial for the state’s, public’s as well as the academia’s understanding of this issue, and related issues in the field of visa law and immigration policy. There is also a great need in academia for scholarly research on this topic. Providing a full fee waiver to access this information is therefore in the interest of the public good, and contributes to the public’s ability to understand and engage with issues related to immigration based on current data.
iii. Ability to disseminate the information received through this request – My research on visas is carried out through my scholarly projects at Stanford University. I also have published and presented at several national and international academic conferences. I am currently a PhD Candidate working on immigration law and policy at Stanford University. I am also affiliated with Stanford Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis as a Graduate Research Fellow, while I am Research Associate at the Poetic Media Lab at Stanford University. Additionally, I am affiliated with the Stanford Hasso Plattner Institute of Design as a Creativity in Research Scholar. I am currently working on an Oral History Project through the Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program on visas. I am therefore well-positioned to undertake research with the requested content, as well as to disseminate such research to a wide community that is both scholarly and public.

Taking these factors into consideration, I would appreciate it if you could a) provide me the required content in a digital format suitable for text analysis, and b) grant me a full fee waiver for this request.

I would be happy to provide any other information required in order to accommodate my request.

Best wishes,
Dharshani L. Jayasinghe