by Ashley Casey, Director of Education & Professional Development, IIUSA
In Spring of 2018, I wrote an article about IIUSA’s “FOIA woes” – the increasingly frustrating and lengthy process by which IIUSA collects most of its data on the EB-5 program. FOIA, short for Freedom of Information Act, is the basis from which most of IIUSA’s data reports are born. We request information from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) on almost everything you can think of relating to the EB-5 Program in order to analyze it and turn it into digestible reports which inform our members about trends in the industry.
When I published my last article on IIUSA’s FOIA requests, it included the chart below which were statistics on our FOIA requests as of March 2018. As you can see, IIUSA makes several requests, most of which are recurring for which we request data on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis. Depending on unique developments of the industry, we will request one-off requests as needed as well.
Below is an updated chart of IIUSA’s FOIA requests which again demonstrates the volume of requests we make, but also the increasingly slow rate of responses we are experiencing.
In the 17 months between my last FOIA article, we have made an additional 66 requests and our pending cases have increased from 42 to 70, though we only received an additional 4 denials in that time span. It is perhaps most important to note that in those 17 months, we only received 33 responses, many of which were requests from 2017 and 2018. Since 2011, IIUSA made a total of 248 FOIA requests, only 36% of which have been fulfilled by USCIS, while there are 158 requests fulfilled, 70 requests are pending as of August 2019.