FOIAXpress / FOIA Public Access Link
Part A. Justification
1. Necessity of Information – Regulations prescribe how to make a request for access to
Department of Justice records under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552.
Generally, one should write directly to the FOIA office of the component that maintains
the records being sought or to the FOIA/PA Mail Referral Unit, Justice Management
Division, Department of Justice. 28 C.F.R. §16.3(a)(1)-(2). The regulations require that
the requestor describe the records sought in sufficient detail to enable Department
personnel to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. 28 C.F.R. §16.3(b). The
request should include, whenever possible, specific information that may assist a
component in identifying the requested records, such as the date, title or name, author,
recipient, subject matter of the record, case number, file designation, or reference
number. Id. FOIA requests are subject to applicable fees. 28 C.F.R. §16.10. The
component that first receives a request for a record and maintains that record is the
component responsible for responding to the request, which requires the requestor to
provide contact information including name, mailing address and an e-mail address, if
available. 28 C.F.R. §16.4(a). Furthermore, a substantial number of EOIR FOIA requests
are third party requests for individual records of proceedings for those undergoing
immigration proceedings within EOIR immigration courts, which requires the requestor
to submit proper authorization allowing release of the information. The EOIR FOIA
Program recommends third party requesters submit a DOJ-361 to substantiate proper
authorization, which includes the name, address, signature and alien identification
number signed by the individual the subject of the immigration proceeding.
FOIAXpress is a software program that provides the EOIR FOIA Program with a single,
unified application for managing the entire lifecycle of FOIA requests and appeals from
the initial request submitted by a requestor to delivery of documents. The Public Access
Link (PAL) is a secure web portal that provides a platform for the public to immediately
file a FOIA request with EOIR. PAL is integrated directly with FOIAXpress and offers a
centralized location for receiving online FOIA requests, delivering responsive records,
communicating with requesters, collecting fees, and providing access to released
documents in a public reading room in accordance with agency proactive disclosure
PAL collects personal, identifying data about the requestor to enable EOIR to
communicate with the requestor as required under the Freedom of Information Act, 5
U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(a), and its implementing regulations. PAL also collects personal data
in the form of a DOJ-361 or other proper authorization in order to verify proper
authorization of third party requests for individual records of proceedings.
2. Needs and Uses – Us of the PAL is optional and voluntary. It offers the public
requestor a secure option for submitting and receiving a FOIA request electronically. All
communications through the PAL will be conducted electronically, eliminating the need
for any paper submissions. It will also provide the government with a single, unified
application for managing the entire lifecycle of FOIA requests, allowing for more
efficient use of government resources and records keeping in processing FOIA requests.
3. Use of Technology - The use of this collection will provide the most efficient means
for collecting and processing the required requests. The PAL will be available as a
secure web portal that provides a platform for the public to immediately file a FOIA
request with EOIR.
4. Efforts to Identify Duplication – There is no electronic portal currently available for
the public to submit FOIA requests with EOIR. Presently, requestors must send written
requests by mail or email. A review of EOIR’s collections revealed no duplication of
effort, and there is no other similar information collection currently available that can be
used for this purpose.
5. Impact on Small Businesses - This collection does not have an impact on small
businesses or other small entities. The use of the PAL is optional and voluntary, and may
be used at the discretion of the requestor. When used, this collection does not impose an
undue burden on the requesting individuals or the recipients of the records. Rather, it
provides a more efficient streamlined method for submitting direct requests to EOIR’s
FOIA program. EOIR estimates that it will take approximately three (3) minutes to
complete a request using the PAL.
6. Consequences of Less Frequent Collection - Failure to collect this information would
deprive an individual of an efficient method to request the release of the information and
records sought under the FOIA or Privacy Act.
7. Special Circumstances Influencing Collection - None of the eight special
circumstances identified in OMB instruction number 7 apply to this collection.
8. Federal Register Publication and Consultation – A 60-day notice covering this
collection was published in the Federal Register on November 18, 2020, 85 FR 73513. A
30-day notice covering this collection will be published in the Federal Register. Copies
of these notices are attached. If comments are received, they will be considered and
incorporated where appropriate.
9. Payment or Gift to Claimants - EOIR does not provide any payment or gifts to parties
in cases or immigration proceedings, attorneys, accredited representatives, qualified
organizations, or other third parties.
10. Assurance of Confidentiality – The EOIR Office of the General Counsel, FOIA
Program will maintain the original request. EOIR protects the confidentiality of the
contents of the requests submitted via the PAL, to the extent permitted by law, including
the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act.
11. Justification for Sensitive Questions - There are no questions of a sensitive nature.
12. Estimate of Hour Burden
a. Number of Respondents
b. Number of Responses per Respondent
c. Total Annual Responses
d. Hours per Response
e. Total Annual Hourly Reporting Burden
33,984 respondents x 1 response per respondent x 3 minutes per response = 1,699 burden
13. Estimate of Cost Burden - There are no capital or start-up costs associated with this
information collection. The estimated public cost is zero.
For informational purposes only, there may be additional costs to respondents should
they elect to use this optional method of submitting a FOIA request. Respondents may
incur a cost if they hire an attorney to assist them with completing their request. The
Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median hourly wage for lawyers is $57.68. For
those respondents who proceed without an attorney, there is an estimated cost of $10 per
hour for completing the request (the individuals’ time and supplies) in lieu of the
practitioner cost. There are also no fees associated with submitting a FOIA request.
14. Estimated Cost to the Federal Government – It is estimated that the annual
government cost for processing FOIA requests received through the PAL will be
$51,730. This amount also includes processing and maintenance costs of $12,241, which
was derived by calculating the personnel and overhead costs to EOIR for processing the
15. Plans for Publication - The information from this collection will be used internally to
locate and release records of individuals who are requesting information and
documentation from EOIR pursuant to the FOIA.
16. Exceptions to the Certification Statement - EOIR does not request an exception to the
certification of this information collection.
Part B. Collection of Information Employing Statistical Methods
This collection does not employ statistical methods.
In submitting this request for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval, I certify that
the requirements of the Privacy Act and OMB directives have been complied with, including
paperwork regulations, any applicable statistical standards or directives, and any other
information policy directives promulgated under 5 C.F.R. § 1320.
Digitally signed by CHRISTINA
Date: 2021.01.29 14:14:42 -05'00'
Executive Office for Immigration Review
|Author||Finkel, Dina (EOIR)|