TRAC correspondence

Emma Best filed this request with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the United States of America.
Due Feb. 28, 2017
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

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

A copy of all correspondence between ICE and the organization called TRAC (Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse) between January 1, 2016 and the present.

I limit this request to records located in the ICE FOIA Office and ICE FOIA Appellate Office.

You may omit any bulky attachments or associated records – I am primarily interested in letters, correspondence and brief enclosures.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities for AND Magazine, MuckRock and Glomar Disclosure and have an open arrangement with each. My articles have been widely read, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. As such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through the non-profit Internet Archive, disseminating them to a large audience. While my research is not limited to this, a great deal of it, including this, focuses on the activities and attitudes of the government itself. As such, it is not necessary for me to demonstrate the relevance of this particular subject in advance. Additionally, case law states that “proof of the ability to disseminate the released information to a broad cross-section of the public is not required.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep’t of Justice, 365 F.3d 1108, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see Carney v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 19 F.3d 807, 814-15 (2d Cir. 1994). Further, courts have held that "qualified because it also had “firm” plans to “publish a number of . . . ‘document sets’” concerning United States foreign and national security policy." Under this criteria, as well, I qualify as a member of the news media. Additionally, courts have held that the news media status "focuses on the nature of the requester, not its request. The provision requires that the request be “made by” a representative of the news media. Id. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II). A newspaper reporter, for example, is a representative of the news media regardless of how much interest there is in the story for which he or she is requesting information." As such, the details of the request itself are moot for the purposes of determining the appropriate fee category. As such, my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available and I therefore request that fees be waived. Per DOJ FOIA guidance, "a requester should be granted a fee waiver if the requested information (1) sheds light on the activities and operations of the government; (2) is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of those operations and activities; and (3) is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester." As this FOIA meets all of those requirements (see above), a fee waiver is warranted.

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,

Michael Best

From: US DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement FOIA Office

February 27, 2017 MICHAEL BEST MUCKROCK DEPT MR 32648 411A HIGHLAND AVE SOMERVILLE, MA 02144-2516 RE:     ICE FOIA Case Number 2017-ICFO-17160 Dear Mr. BEST: This acknowledges receipt of your January 28, 2017, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), for a copy of all correspondence between ICE and the organization called TRAC (Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse) (Date Range for Record Search: From 1/1/2016 To 1/28/2017).  Your request was received in this office on January 28, 2017. After careful review of your FOIA request, we determined that your request is too broad in scope, did not specifically identify the records which you are seeking, or only posed questions to the agency.  Records must be 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.  For this reason, §5.3(b) of the DHS regulations, 6 C.F.R. Part 5, require that you describe the records you are seeking with as much information as possible to ensure that our search can locate them with a reasonable amount of effort.  Whenever possible, a request should include specific information about each record sought, such as the date, title or name, author, recipients, and subject matter of the records, if known, or the ICE program office you believe created and/or controls the record. The FOIA does not require an agency to create new records, answer questions posed by requesters, or attempt to interpret a request that does not identify specific records. Please resubmit your request containing a reasonable description of the records you are seeking.  Upon receipt of a perfected request, you will be advised as to the status of your request. If we do not hear from you within 10 days from the date of this letter, we will assume you are no longer interested in this FOIA request, and the case will be administratively closed.  Please be advised that this action is not a denial of your request and will not preclude you from filing other requests in the future. Your request has been assigned reference number 2017-ICFO-17160. 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 2016-ICFO-XXXXX or 2017-ICFO- (http://www.dhs.gov/foia-status) http://www.dhs.gov/foia-status XXXXX 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 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.
Sincerely,
ICE FOIA Office
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: Michael Best

My request was specific enough, in accordance with both statute and case law. Please explain why you believe otherwise, or process the request.

Thanks!

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