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Moujtahid v. USCIS, No. 18-1789, 2020 WL 4000980 (W.D. Wash. July 15, 2020) (Martinez, J.)


Moujtahid v. USCIS, No. 18-1789, 2020 WL 4000980 (W.D. Wash. July 15, 2020) (Martinez, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning investigation of certain third parties for the unauthorized practice of immigration law

Disposition:  Granting defendants' motion for summary judgment

  • Exemptions 6 & 7(C):  "The Court . . . finds that Plaintiffs have failed to set forth a sufficient public interest to outweigh the [privacy] interests, or sufficiently demonstrated that the public records of [the individuals investigated for the unauthorized practice of immigration law] violation of consent decrees justify release of the redacted names."  First, "[t]he Court finds that the privacy interests here are substantial and not de minimis."  Second, the court holds that "the records at issue do not shed light on the functions of USCIS, but rather contain personal information about applicants."  "Plaintiffs present no evidence that [the investigated individuals] are engaging in an ongoing criminal enterprise, or that the [state] AG's efforts to investigate other unlawful practitioners of law are insufficient."  "Plaintiffs' civil litigation discovery interests alone are not enough to tip the scale."  The court finds similarly regarding "individuals who are under investigation in [USCIS's] FDNS National Security Data System," but under Exemption 7(C).
  • Litigation Considerations:  "The Court concludes that Defendants have not withheld [personnel records concerning the investigated individuals]" because defendants "contend that the records Plaintiffs seek are not within their possession."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 6
Exemption 7(C)
Litigation Considerations, Supplemental to Main Categories
Updated August 12, 2020