Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated. The Department’s essential law enforcement and national security functions will continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice’s contingency plan for more information.

Ahmed v. USCIS, No. 11-cv-6230, 2013 WL 27697 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 2, 2013) (Amon, Chief J.)

Date: 
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Re: First party request for plaintiff's alien file and all records concerning him Disposition: Granting USCIS's motion for summary judgment
  • Litigation Considerations: The court rejects plaintiff's argument that USCIS cannot invoke Exemption 7(E) the first time in its reply brief. The court comments that "[d]efendants raised this exemption prior to oral argument on this motion, and so" the concerns regarding late assertion of exemptions "are not implicated."
  • Exemption 5: The court holds that USCIS properly applied Exemption 5 to a series of emails relevant to the adjudication of plaintiff's naturalization application, an interoffice memorandum regarding this application, as well as a statement of findings that did "not provide a final or binding decision on how the field office should dispose of [plaintiff's] naturalization application." The court declares that all of these documents fall within the deliberative process privilege. The court finds the documents are pre-decisional as they are "intended to 'facilitate an identifiable final agency decision' - - plaintiff's naturalization application." The court finds that they are also deliberative since there are "recommendatory in nature." Noting that "any opinions provided in these documents appear . . . to reflect the subjective opinion of the individual author and not of the agency itself," the court rejects plaintiff's contention that the documents reflect "non privileged 'secret' or 'working' agency law."
  • Exemption 7(E): The court finds that the documents were properly withheld under Exemption 7(E) because they "contain content setting forth agency techniques for vetting subjects that might pose a national security threat, as well as procedures applicable to adjudicating applications by such individuals," and "these techniques and procedures serve law enforcement purposes."
  • Segregability: The court also finds that it was appropriate to withhold the documents in full. It notes that "[t]o the extent there is any purely factual or otherwise non-exempt material in these documents . . . such material is 'inextricably intertwined' with exempt material, such that disclosure would 'compromise the confidentiality' of protected information."
Topic: 
District Court
Exemption 5
Exemption 7E
Litigation Considerations
Segregability
Updated August 6, 2014