The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides individuals (including immigrants) with access to government records, including records about themselves. Immigration lawyers understand the importance of timely responses to FOIA requests, as they are often crucial for building a solid immigration case. However, when the government fails to comply with a FOIA request or takes too long to respond, litigation may be a viable option to compel the production of records. An interesting and easily overlooked detail that may prove helpful for immigration law mavens when FOIA litigation against the government becomes necessary is the following:
Under the FOIA regulations, an agency has only 30 days from the date they are served with the complaint to respond to a FOIA lawsuit, rather than the standard 60 days permitted by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(a).