FOIA Requests Seek Data About Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Adjudications

FOIA Requests Seek Data About Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Adjudications

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Under the Trump administration, we have seen an uptick in requests for additional information about petitions filed by U.S. employers on behalf of foreign-born workers. We also have seen greater numbers of denials of these petitions. According to the employers and their workers, these trends reflect unlawful adjudications across the board. 

In response to these changes, the Council filed two Freedom in Information Act (FOIA) requests asking for ten years of data about immigrant and nonimmigrant adjudications. We hope this data will help us better understand historical adjudication trends and how those trends have changed in recent years. 

The first FOIA request, filed on November 16, 2018, asks for data from all Forms I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker filed between October 1, 2008 and the present. It asks for information regarding the denial or approval of the petition and granular information found in the form fields, including:

  1. Information about the petitioner (the company or organization name, location of company, etc.);
  2. Information about the petition (the requested nonimmigrant classification for the petition, total number of workers requested in the petition, etc.);
  3. Beneficiary information (gender, nationality, etc.); and
  4. Information about the proposed employment and employer (job title, compensation, etc.). 

The second FOIA request, filed on January 22, 2019, asks for data from all Forms I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, filed between October 1, 2008 to the present. Similar to the I-129 FOIA request, the I-140 FOIA request asks for information about whether the petition was denied or approved and other information from the form fields, including:

  1. Information about the petitioner (e.g. whether the employer is an individual or company);
  2. The type of position the petition will fill (multinational executive, outstanding researcher, skilled worker, etc.);
  3. Information about the beneficiary (gender, nationality, etc.);
  4. Information about the proposed employment (job title, worksite location, etc.); and
  5. Information about spouses and children of the person for whom the petition is being filed. 

We all have a stake in an immigration system where U.S. businesses and foreign-born workers are treated fairly and consistently. By analyzing and reporting on these data, the Council plans to provide the public with new insight on problematic adjudication patterns and hold the government accountable. 

With the data sought through the requests, the Council hopes to better understand USCIS’ adjudication of employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant petitions and how the adjudication process has evolved over multiple years.

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