FOIA Request for IJ R. C. Harris’s BIA Remands

Evan Benz filed this request with the Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review of the United States of America.
Tracking #


Due Dec. 11, 2020
Est. Completion None
Awaiting Response


From: Evan Benz

To Whom It May Concern:

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

The decisions issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals between October 1, 2018, and the date of processing of this request, arising from cases decided by IJ Rodger C. Harris, that were classified as either administratively closed, background check remand, and/or remand.

The purpose of this request is to help gather information, to provide to the public, about why the Charlotte Immigration Court has a much higher-than-average asylum denial rate compared to other non-detained immigration courts in the Fourth Circuit (i.e., Arlington and Baltimore), what the reasoning has been when the BIA has overturned some of those denials. See TRAC, “Asylum Decisions Vary Widely Across Judges and Courts - Latest Results,” (Jan. 13, 2020), available at

The requested records will be made available to the general public via our law firm’s website ( and a FOIA records clearinghouse (, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes. Thus, we would request that fees be waived. However, 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 response be provided 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.


F. Evan Benz, Esq.

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

Dear F. Evan Benz: This response acknowledges receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) dated 11/12/2020 and received 11/12/2020.  Your request has been assigned control number 2021-04473. The FOIA requires an agency to respond within 20 working days after receipt of the request, and EOIR endeavors to meet this standard.  The FOIA permits a ten-day extension of this time period, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B), based on unusual circumstances.  Your request involves “unusual circumstances,” and EOIR is extending the time period to respond by an additional 10 working days because your request requires the collection of records from field offices, or involves a search, collection, and review of voluminous records, or requires consultation with another agency or two or more agency components. EOIR FOIA requests are placed in one of three tracks. Track one is for those requests that seek and receive expedited processing pursuant to subsection (a)(6)(E) of the FOIA. Track two is for simple requests that do not involve voluminous records or lengthy consultations with other entities.  Track three is for complex requests that involve voluminous records and for which lengthy or numerous consultations are required, or those requests that may involve sensitive records.  Your request has been placed in track three for complex requests. If you have filed an application for a fee waiver, EOIR will address your request in a separate letter. Additionally, if you have requested expedited processing, EOIR will contact you in a separate letter. If you have any questions regarding unusual circumstances, you may contact the EOIR FOIA Service Center or FOIA Public Liaison at (703) 605-1297 to discuss reformulation or an alternative time frame to process your request, or for any further assistance regarding any aspect of your request. Additionally, you may contact the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) at the National Archives and Records Administration to inquire about the FOIA mediation services they offer.  The contact information for OGIS is as follows: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, Room 2510, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, Maryland 20740-6001; e-mail at; telephone at (202) 741-5770; toll free at (877) 684-6448; or facsimile at (202) 741-5769. Sincerely, FOIA Intake

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

From: Evan Benz

Subject: DOJ-EOIR FOIA Request # 2021-04473

Why did you aggregate the requests? They are similar kinds of requests, but the records requested are actually completely distinct from one another (based on differing IJ's) and will involve different searches based on different search terms. I object to this aggregation decision and request that each request be processed separately.