Guidelines for detainment at border

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the United States Customs and Border Protection of the United States of America.
Tracking # CBP-AP-2015-005534
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

The guidelines that determine whether individuals are detained at the border for additional questioning

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, 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.

Sincerely,

Shawn Musgrave

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 10, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 10, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

This request has not been acknowledged since it was submitted on Jan. 10, 2014. Diagnostic records show that it was sent to the correct fax number and arrived there.

Please advise as to the status of this request and when a response should be expected.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Associate General Counsel (General Law)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Mailstop 0655,
Washington, D.C. 20528

May 9, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal of constructive denial of the FOIA below, which DHS I&A indicated was submitted to CBP FOIA on January 10, 2014 (see below). I have yet to receive so much as an acknowledgement or tracking number from CBP, much less a substantive response, despite a number of communications and confirmations that it was received via fax.

Please remand this request to CBP for processing immediately.

Thank you,

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: CBPFOIA@cbp.dhs.gov

This message is to confirm your request submission to the FOIAonline application: View Request. Request information is as follows: (https://foiaonline.regulations.gov:443/foia/action/public/view/request?objectId=090004d2802a2450)
* Tracking Number: CBP-2014-030734
* Requester Name: Shawn Musgrave
* Date Submitted: 06/09/2014
* Request Status: Submitted
* Description:
"The guidelines that determine whether individuals are detained at the border for additional questioning"

From: CBPFOIA@cbp.dhs.gov

The FOIA request CBP-2014-030734 has had its Tracking Number changed to CBP-OBP-2014-030734. This is normally due to the request being transferred to another agency (for example, EPA to Dept. of Commerce) or to a sub-agency to process it. Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Old Tracking Number:
CBP-2014-030734
* New Tracking Number:
CBP-OBP-2014-030734
* Requester Name:
Shawn Musgrave
* Date Submitted:
06/09/2014
* Long Description:
"The guidelines that determine whether individuals are detained at the border for additional questioning"

From: CBPFOIA@cbp.dhs.gov

The FOIA request CBP-OBP-2014-030734 has had its Tracking Number changed to CBP-2014-030734. This is normally due to the request being transferred to another agency (for example, EPA to Dept. of Commerce) or to a sub-agency to process it. Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Old Tracking Number:
CBP-OBP-2014-030734
* New Tracking Number:
CBP-2014-030734
* Requester Name:
Shawn Musgrave
* Date Submitted:
06/09/2014
* Long Description:
"The guidelines that determine whether individuals are detained at the border for additional questioning"

From: CBPFOIA@cbp.dhs.gov

Your request for Fee Waiver for the FOIA request CBP-2014-030734 has been
denied.
Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Request Created on:
06/09/2014
* Request Long Description:
"The guidelines that determine whether individuals are detained at the border for additional questioning"

From: CBPFOIA@cbp.dhs.gov

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From: Shawn Musgrave

Ms. Suzuki -

I am mailing the appeal below to the indicated address today, but wanted to send an email version to ensure delivery. Please confirm receipt of both copies.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave

From: Shawn Musgrave

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
FOIA Appeals, Policy and Litigation Branch
90 K Street, NE, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20229-1177

November 10, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal for administrative closure of FOIA request CBP-2014-030734.

Foremost, I feel compelled to point out CBP's fundamental failure to uphold its obligations under the FOIA statute with regard to timely processing of this request. After submitting the request on January 10, February 10 and March 13, 2014, by fax to the appropriate CBP FOIA fax number, I received no reply whatsoever. It was only after I submitted an appeal for constructive denial in May that this request was acknowledged, and then only by automatic communication from FOIAOnline that the request had been entered into the system.

After the initial acknowledgement, I received only two additional communications before the attached rejection letter was sent. Neither communication requested additional information or indicated that the request was insufficiently detailed. Furthermore, both of these communications pertain to changing the tracking number in such a way that indicates that the request was forwarded from CBP to the Office of Border Patrol (OBP) — such an assignment to a particular division within CBP suggests that FOIA staff were able to use their knowledge of CBP recordkeeping and activities to determine the unit most likely to have the requested records.

Finally, the records are "described in reasonably sufficient detail to enable government employees who are familiar with the subject area to locate records without placing an unreasonable burden upon the agency," to quote CBP's own FOIA website (see http://www.cbp.gov/site-policy-notices/foia/faq-foia). I provided a description of the subject matter of the records sought — "guidelines that determine whether individuals are detained at the border." The incredibly bare rejection letter sent by the CBP FOIA office fails to indicate that an unreasonable burden would be placed on the agency in locating records responsive to the request. Procedures such as these ought to relatively easy to locate. Additionally, I would be happy to provide additional detail should it be needed — but, after more than 10 months' delay in processing the request, CBP FOIA staff have failed to provide me such an opportunity.

In summary, CBP FOIA staff's processing of the present request has been woefully inadequate. Foremost, I believe the request contains adequate information as submitted to allow it to be fulfilled. As such, its summary dismissal is in contradiction with CBP's obligations under the FOIA statute. Furthermore, for CBP FOIA staff to close the request without allowing me the opportunity to provide any additional information they might require is entirely inappropriate.

In light of the above, I request that this request be remanded to CBP for a good faith search for responsive records.

Respectfully,

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: SUZUKI, SHARI

Mr. Musgrave:

I received your email (but not the paper copy).

Technically you cannot appeal a decision that a request does not adequately describe the records requested. However, I have opened an appeal and will review the issue. The case number for the appeal is:

AP-2015-005534
Regards,
Shari

Shari Suzuki, Chief
FOIA Appeals, Policy & Litigation Branch
Regulations and Disclosure Law Division
Office of International Trade
U.S. Customs & Border Protection
90 K Street NE
Washington DC 20229-1177
Direct Dial 202.325.0121
Fax 202.325.0153

From: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection

A letter stating that the request appeal has been succesful.

From: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

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