In October 2015, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU of Southern California and Dolores Street Community Services filed three separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking information pertaining to the case processing databases for cases in the immigration courts. The requests were filed with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Civil Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
With respect to the EOIR request, the parties narrowed the request and EOIR provided a list of databases/information systems with descriptions, manuals and training materials for the Case Access System for EOIR (CASE) and its Freedom of Information Act database.
ICE subsequently produced documentation, most of which relates to the ENFORCE Alien Removal Management (EARM) database and the USCIS Person Centric Query Service (PCQS) interface.
DOJ initially claimed it lacked any responsive records. However, after the requestors provided proof that DOJ attorneys have access to EOIR decisions, DOJ reconsidered its position and referred the request to EOIR for production of eight pages. Those eight pages revealed that DOJ attorneys may seek and obtain access to an EOIR database called eDecision, a database which is inaccessible to noncitizens or their counsel.
Many of the records uncovered through these FOIA requests were previously unavailable to the public. All of the records obtained through all three FOIA requests can be downloaded below.