Mega master emails

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

2020-21993

Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Matthew Hoppock


To Whom It May Concern:

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

The emails between 1/1/17 and the date this request is processed containing the keywords “mega master” or “mega masters” and sent to or from the following custodians:

Bartolomei, Jr. Rico (EOIR) <Rico.Bartolomei@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
Dufresne, Jill (EOIR) <Jill.DuFresne@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
Feldman, Irene (EOIR) <Irene.Feldman@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
Golparvar, Kuyomars Q. (EOIR) <Kuyomars.Golparvar@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
Griswold, Stephen (EOIR) <Stephen.Griswold@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
Hoogasian, Amy C. (EOIR) <Amy.Hoogasian@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
Loprest, Jr., F. James (EOIR) <F.James.LoprestJr@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
Mart, H. Kevin (EOIR) <H.Kevin.Mart@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
Keller, Mary Beth (EOIR) <MaryBeth.Keller@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
McNulty, Sheila (EOIR) <Sheila.McNulty@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
Nadkarni, Deepali (EOIR) <Deepali.Nadkarni@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
Rooyani, Rodin (EOIR) <Rodin.Rooyani@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
Sukkar, Elisa (EOIR) <Elisa.Sukkar@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
Weil, Jack (EOIR) <Jack.Weil@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>
Maggard, Print (EOIR) <Print.Maggard@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
Cheng, Mary (EOIR) <Mary.Cheng@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>;
Burghard, Christina (EOIR) <Christina.Burghard@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV>

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.

Sincerely,

Matthew Hoppock

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

A fix is required to perfect the request.

From: Matthew Hoppock

The subject matter I am searching for is correspondence among EOIR staff about hearings involving numerous respondents, for which I understand certain EOIR staff use the phrase "mega masters" or "mega master" to describe. Under the FOIA my request is reasonably described because it lists the relevant custodians, lists the date range, and provides keywords. Moreover, given that the search term is rather unique, it is highly unlikely the search would turn up false positives as your letter indicates. Indeed, I am asking for all responsive email records and their attachments, whether you decide they fit within my described subject matter or not. Thank you.

Matthew Hoppock

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

A fix is required to perfect the request.

From: Matthew Hoppock

The EOIR unlawfully denied this request, refusing to conduct a search, and as a consequence withheld responsive records without any justification. The request identifies two keywords, a limited date range, and 17 email custodians. The EOIR asked for the "subject matter" - an attempt to limit production by allowing EOIR employees to subjectively decide whether responsive records fit in the "subject matter." When we responded by providing a "subject matter" we are looking for, the EOIR still denied the request claiming it is not "a proper subject matter." This is illegal.

The request was reasonably described, because it provided keywords, custodians, and a date range. The keywords are not commonly used words. The request is highly targeted. And the agency's attempt to avoid having to produce materials by imposing a "subject matter" requirement never found in the FOIA statute is abusive and unlawful.

We appeal and request that this decision be promptly reversed.

I am also requesting that this appeal be expedited, given the public interest in learning about the agency's use of "mega master" hearings to deny immigrants due process in the immigration court hearings. This request has been pending since February, 2020 and the agency's response indicates it still hasn't even performed a search. This violates the FOIA statute.

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