Outgoing Mail Procedures

Jay Gairson filed this request with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the United States of America.
Tracking # APP2014000838
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Jay Gairson

To Whom It May Concern:

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

* The current USCIS checklist, procedures, manuals, training materials, or other documents that explain the manner in which outgoing mail is to be processed and handled. This should include the instructions on how outgoing mailings are assembled, preferred organization of documents, appropriate checklists for the documents that should be included with any applications or petitions, and any special procedures for outgoing documents.

* Please provide an index, list, table, database entries, or similar listing all documents related to outgoing mail procedures.

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,

Jay Gairson

From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

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 Oct. 2, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #COW2013000745.

Thank you for your help.

From: Jay Gairson

This notice is being sent to you to notify you that I am submitting an appeal on this case. I have prepared an appeal of the fee waiver denial on this request #COW2013000745 and have consolidated the fee waiver denial appeal with the fee waiver denials on requests COW2013000838, COW2013000793, and COW2013000796. The consolidated appeal is being sent under a separate heading from this message.

Sincerely,

Jay Gairson

From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

A letter stating the request for reduced or waived fees has been rejected.

From: Jay Gairson

Greetings:

In order to avoid delays while I pursue alternative remedies due to the appeal denial, I hereby state that I am willing to pay up to $50 in costs and request an estimate of any remaining fees that may need to be paid by category if fees are to exceed $50.

By authorizing payment up to $50, I do not waive my argument or belief that I qualify for a fee waiver.

Thank you,

Jay Gairson

From: FOIA, USCIS

USCIS has received information submitted from you to the FOIA mailbox. If you are submitting a FOIA request, this courtesy reply does not replace the Acknowledgement Letter which will be sent to you once your request has been scanned into our FOIA processing system. As this reply is automatically generated, do not respond to this notification.

The USCIS FOIA mailbox relates to the Freedom of Information (FOIA) or Privacy Act (PA) requests for a copy of immigration records (alien files; or petition or application receipt files).

For Status of Pending Applications or Petitions or other Immigration Matters:
The USCIS National Records Center does not process petitions, applications or any other type of benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act. If you have questions or wish to submit documentation relating to a pending application or petition or any other immigration matter, you must contact your local USCIS Office or our National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833). You may also visit www.uscis.gov<http://www.uscis.gov> for answers. There is also information on the web-site for scheduling an INFOPASS appointment at your local USCIS office.

If you are outside the United States and need more information concerning United States immigration, please contact the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
________________________________________________________

Visa/Travel Inquiries:
If you have questions about an F-1, F-3, J-1, M-1, or M-3 Visa, please click on the following link: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/faq.htm.

For other Visa or travel information, please visit www.travel.state.gov<http://www.travel.state.gov>.
________________________________________________________

Reports of Fraud or Suspicious Activity:
The email will be forwarded to the appropriate office. To report any suspicious activity call 1-866-347-2423 or www.ice.gov<http://www.ice.gov> or you may call your local law enforcement or local USCIS office.
_______________________________________________________

How to submit a FOIA Request to USCIS for A Copy of Immigration Records:
You may fill out the G-639 which may be downloaded from http://www.uscis.gov/g-639, for each subject you are seeking records. Please provide a valid mailing address. The completion of this form is optional. Any written format for a Freedom of Information or Privacy Act request is acceptable but the information and signatures requested need to be provided, in order to prevent a delay in processing.

Please provide as much information as possible in block 2. While you are not required to respond to all items in block 2, failure to provide complete and specific information as requested may result in a delay in processing or an inability to locate the record(s) or information requested.

If you are submitting a FOIA request regarding an individual other than yourself, a signed agreement by the subject of the FOIA request is needed authorizing release of that individual's records to you; a signature block is provided on page 2 of the G-639 in block 3. If records requested are for an individual born less than 100 years ago and the individual is deceased, you will need to forward either a death certificate or some type of information showing the individual is deceased.

On page 2 of the G-639, please ensure that the information for the subject of record is provided and that the signature of the subject of record appears in block 4. In block 4, the subject of record may sign under penalty of perjury either under "Executed outside the United States" or "Executed in the United States" OR the signature of subject of record may be notarized.

A request for a specific document will be placed on a faster track than a request for an entire file. There is additional information about the FOIA multi-track system at www.uscis.gov/foia.

You can submit the requests one of the following ways:

Via U.S. Mail to:

National Records Center
FOIA/PA Office
P.O. Box 648010
Lee's Summit, MO 64064-8010

Or: Via Fax: 816-350-5785 or 802-288-1793

Or: Via e-mail by scanning your documents in and attaching them to your e-mail to uscis.foia@dhs.gov<mailto:uscis.foia@dhs.gov>.

_________________________________________________

If you have a FOIA control number, you may check the status of your FOIA request online, at www.uscis.gov/foia. Click on Check Status of Request button and follow the instructions. We process cases on a first in / first out basis. The estimated time posted on the USCIS web site is based on our average processing time in business days as of the date posted and includes all cases closed.

Thank you.

FOIA, USCIS
www.uscis.gov/foia<http://www.uscis.gov/foia>
USCIS.FOIA@dhs.gov<mailto:USCIS.FOIA@dhs.gov>

WARNING: This document is FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (FOUO). It contains information that may be exempt from public release under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). This document is to be controlled, handled, transmitted, distributed, and disposed of in accordance with DHS policy relating to Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information and is not to be released to the public or other personnel who do not have a valid "need-to-know" without prior approval from the originator.

From: Jay Gairson

Please provide me with information as to the estimated cost of production. I request this information under protest and reserve the right to pursue judicial remedies.

Sincerely,

Jay Gairson

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 Oct. 2, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #COW2013000745.

Thank you for your help.

From: Greenwood, Tembra A

Mr. Gairson,

The records for this case has been received and will be processed on a first come first serve basis.

Thank you,

Tembra Greenwood
Significant Interest Group (SIG)
DHS/CIS/NRC/FOIA
816-350-5534
Tembra.Greenwood@dhs.gov
SIG…fulfilling the promise of openness

From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

A cover letter granting the request and outlining any exempted materials, if any.

From: Jay Gairson

Freedom of Information Act Appeal
USCIS FOIA/PA Appeals Office
150 Space Center Loop, Suite 500
Lee's Summit, MO 64064-2139

RE: FOIA Appeal for COW2013000745

Dear Director Eggleston:

I am appealing the constructively complete redaction of materials responsive to COW2013000745. The exemption grounds cited throughout is (b)(4) and in one instance (b)(6). Your application of these exemption grounds is overbroad and more materials should be released.

Exemption (b)(4) provides that FOIA does not apply to matters that are: "trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential." In particular, (b)(4) protects information that is: (A) trade secret OR (B) information which is (1) commercial or financial, (2) obtained from a person, and (3) privileged or confidential. Pub. Citizen Health Research Group v. FDA, 185 F.3d 898, 903 (D.C. Cir. 1999). This means that the information must either be a trade secret or commercial or financial.

Under any definition of "trade secret" the information must be (1) commercially valuable; (2) used in one's business; and (3) maintained in secrecy. The potions of the requested materials covered by the PitneyBowes DI900/DI950 FastPac Document Inserting System manual are not trade secret and therefore not subject to (b)(4). In particular these appear to be rebranded materials of the otherwise available PitneyBowes Instruction Manual and Operators Manual for this particular device, which are readily available online through PitneyBowes' own website: http://support.pb.com/ekip/index?page=content&id=RE8116. Other materials on this particular device are readily available via the PitneyBowes' website as well: http://www.pb.com/equipment/Folders-Inserters-Tabbers/Inserters-Low-Mid-Volume/DI950-FastPac-Inserting-System.shtml. The fact that these materials are available online on PitneyBowes' own website mean that they are not "maintained in secrecy". Therefore, they are not a trade secret. Furthermore, these materials would otherwise have to be privileged or confidential in nature, but there publication online by PitneyBowes means that they are not privileged or confidential. Therefore, these materials must be released in full and cannot be withheld.

Other materials that may be covered by the (b)(4) exemption would have to show both secrecy and commercial value. Since most of this appears to be a checklist and instructions, there appears to be little intrinsic commercial value and therefore confidentiality, privilege, and secrecy are not appropriate.

Exemption (b)(6) allows you to exempt Personally Identifiable Information. In particular this is names, addresses, and other information respecting an individual. It does not include their job title, function, or other information. You may redact from the page the specific names and contact information, but you cannot redact all information located on the page including titles and similar information. Furthermore the privacy interest must be balanced with the public interest, which does not appear to have been done in this case. Therefore, the page labeled (b)(6) in its entirety is an overbroad application of this exemption, because it is extremely unlikely that this is the PII of an individual that warrants full withholding of the page.

If you believe that materials should continue to be exempt, please release the Vaughn Index explaining why they are being withheld. Otherwise, I look forward to receiving the entire, unredacted documentation.

Thank you,

Jay Gairson
Freelance Journalist, Attorney, and Researcher

From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

A letter stating that the request appeal has been succesful.

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