Letter to Committee on Homeland Security Entered into Congressional Record at DHS FOIA Hearing

At the ‘Public’s Right to Know: FOIA at the Department of Homeland Security’ hearing held by the Oversight, Management, and Accountability Subcommittee of the Committee on Homeland Security, several Open The Government coalition partners wrote a letter with key recommendations for increased oversight of DHS’s FOIA compliance that was entered into congressional record.

In 2018, DHS responded to only 40% of the FOIA requests the department and its agencies received. The department’s significant backlog of requests ranged from immigration files to complex cases involving transnational crime, posing a threat to the public’s access to crucial government information.

To improve DHS’s records management and its processes for complying with FOIA, the organizations outlined the following recommendations to curtail potential civil and human rights violations by the department:

  • Remove duplicate Alien Files Requests from the FOIA Process
  • Allocate Funding for Digitizing Records
  • Expand Fee Waivers and Expedited Processing
  • Expand Cooperation between DHS agencies
  • Direct DHS to Reduce its Reliance on Exemptions
  • Continue Oversight as a Check against Potential DHS Abuses

More information on the letter is available here.