USCIS Introduces First Digital FOIA System

On June 25, 2019, USCIS announced that it will expand its digital Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Immigration Records System (FIRST) allowing FOIA requesters who have a USCIS online account to submit online requests for their own records. USCIS has indicated that “the FIRST system is the only system in the United States that allows users to submit and track FOIA requests and receive documents digitally.” The FOIA process has long been criticized to be lengthy and cumbersome, but the FIRST system seeks to streamline the process and make records more readily available. It offers users the ability to receive documents digitally, track requests, and download documents.