Access to Info: U.S. Department of Homeland Security Releases 2014 Freedom of Information Report
Two new reports online from the Privacy Office at the Department of Homeland Security. Both reports are linked to their online location and are also embedded (full text) below.
1. 2014 Freedom of Information Act Report to the Attorney General of the United States
From the Introductory Letter:
DHS receives the largest number of FOIA requests of any federal department or agency in each fiscal year, receiving almost 30 percent of all requests received by the Federal Government. Since President Obama took office, DHS has experienced a 182 percent increase in the number of FOIA requests received.
In fiscal year 2014, DHS received 291,242 FOIA requests, its highest number of requests to date.
Most of these requests were directed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These Components process requests seeking immigration records (e.g., copies of the Alien File, entry/exit records, detention, and deportation records).
In fiscal year 2014, DHS granted 16,651 requests in full; partially granted 128,603; and denied 6,212 requests on the basis of FOIA exemptions. The Department commonly invokes exemptions 6 and 7(C) to prevent unwarranted injury to the privacy interests of individuals, and exemption 7(E) to protect against the disclosure of law enforcement techniques, procedures, and guidelines. Combined use of 6, 7(C), and 7(E) made up approximately 54 percent of all exemptions used.
The number of pending FOIA requests for DHS at the end of fiscal year 2014 was 120,393, an 83 percent increase from the 65,676 requests pending at the end of fiscal year 2013. DHS also has the largest backlog of pending FOIA requests. Due to the record-setting number of FOIA requests, the DHS backlog increased from 51,575 to 103,480 in fiscal year 2014. Components that process requests seeking immigration-related records have the largest backlogs in the Department comprising more than 90 percent of the total DHS backlog.
The Report summarizes the Department’s accomplishments in achieving its strategic goals related to transparency, openness, and implementing FOIA from March 2014 through March 2015.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.