Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests
Sometimes, based on the length and complexity of a foreign national's U.S. immigration history, the first step in developing a strategy to resolve his or her case is to submit Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the appropriate agencies to piece together the foreign national's immigration history. It is important never to rely simply on one's memory regarding important dates and facts because of the importance of specific dates and specific facts. By submitting FOIA requests, the foreign national can obtain complete copies of his or her files, which will provide us with a complete and accurate understanding of foreign national's immigration history for the purposes of case strategy.
A FOIA request is also beneficial because it can provide a "window" into what U.S. immigration officials know about your case. For example, a FOIA request may contain notations of an officer's basis for denying entry or charging a certain immigration penalty. Therefore, with a FOIA request, there are no surprises.