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needhelp!
03-04-2009, 10:56 PM
I have received a response on my request last year to USCIS for information on number of AOS applications pending. Here it is: http://download206.mediafire.com/xwcsdggj4yjg/blrmnntd10w/FOIA_USCISResponse.pdf (http://www.mediafire.com/?blrmnntd10w)
--------------------------------------
February 24, 2009
NRC2008065126

We received your request for information relating to Adjustment of Status applications in the employment-based category. You have specifically requested the number of pending employment based AOS applications, (excluding approved, denied) filed with USCIS since 2001, for each of the following countries and categories:
- EB-2 China
- EB-2 India
- EB-3 China
- EB-3 India
- EB-3 Mexico
- EB-3 Philippines
- EB-3 Rest of the World

Your request is being handled under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C 552). It has been assigned the following control number: NRC2008065126. Please cite th is number in any further inquiry about this request.

In order to extract the information you have requested, a customized computer program will be required. You will be charged for the time it takes to write the program as well as the time involved in running the query to extract the date. You will not be charged for duplication, review and search time. We estimate the cost to be $5000.00. Due to the time and effort involved, you will be asked to sign an advance fee agreement before we proceed with your request. In addition, a deposit of $2500.00 payable by check or money order, must be paid within 30 days of the date of this notification. Please make your check payable to the United States Treasury, Failure to submit the $2500.00 deposit within the time frame given will result in your request being administratively closed.

In order to assure that we provide the information you seek in the format you have requested, we ask that you clarify the information sought. Employment based status is broken down into the following 14 categories.
_____________

NRC2008065126
Page 2

E21 203(b)(2) PROF/EXCPTNL ABILITY
E22 SPOUSE OF ES1 OR E21
E23 CHILD OF ES1 OR E21
E26 203(b)(2) PROF/EXCPTNL ABILITY
E27 SPOUSE OF ES6
E28 CHILD OF ES6
E30 203(b)(3) CHILD OF E36, E37
E31 203(b)(3)(A)(i) SKILLED WORKER
E32 203(b)(3)(A)(ii) PROFESSIONAL
E34 203(b)(3)(A) SPOUSE OF E31, E32
E35 203(b)(3)(A) CHILD OF E31, E32
E36 203(b)(3)(A)(i) SKILLED WORKER
E37 203(b)(3)(A)(ii) PROFESSIONAL
E39 203(b)(3)(A) SPOUSE OF E36, E37

Are you asking tha the information we provide be broken down into the categories listed above, or may we group all EB-2 categories and ass EB-3 categories together?

Please define priority date.

You have asked for information concerning the country of chargeability. This information is not assigned until the application is approved or denied. Since you have requested information on pending applications only, this information is not available.

If you have any questions concerning your pending FOIA/PA request, please address them to this office, Attention: FOIA/PA Officer, or call us at 816-350-5570, or fax any FOIA/PA related correspondence to 816-350-5785.

Sincerely,

T. Diane Cejka
Director

___________________________

I will post a scan tomorrow

From what I understand, they aren't able to get the numbers by country of chargeablility.

Its funny they are asking me to define priority date ! :)

____________________________
Here is the original letter template sent to USCIS

FOIA Request for number of pending Employment based AOS/I-485 Applications

John Doe,

200 Main Street,

Chicago,IL,60001

National Records Center, FOIA/PA Office
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
P. O. Box 648010
Lee’s Summit, MO 64064-8010

Dear FOIA officer,
Several Employment based categories have been retrogressed for 4 years now and the exact number of pending AOS applications sorted by priority dates in the employment-based category is unknown. Department of state has been establishing the cut off in priority dates based on educated guesses and approximations. DOS and none of the Employment based applicants know the number of applications pending per category, per country sorted by priority dates. DOS visa office expressed similar concern in Oct 08 bulletin.

“Little if any forward movement of the cut-off dates in most Employment categories is likely until the extent of the CIS backlog of old priority dates can be determined.”

This information would be helpful in determining the priority dates accurately and in determining when a visa number will be available for a given priority date in a certain category. I request you to provide me with the number of pending employment based AOS applications, (excluding approved/denied) in the following categories sorted on a priority date basis from 2001.

EB-2 China & India: Number of employment based AOS applications pending with USCIS sorted by priority date on a yearly basis from year 2001 till now

EB-3 China, India, Mexico & Philippines & Rest of the World: Number of employment based AOS applications pending with USCIS sorted by priority date on a yearly basis from year 2001 till now
Thanks,

John Doe.

EkAurAaya
03-04-2009, 11:14 PM
In my opinion this is ridiculous... it is clear how they don't want to share the information by comming up with this!

I think you should forward this to The President! show him how open his offices are about sharing information under the Freedom of Information Act - i dont see how is this different then pay-per view on cable!

EDIT: F$%&ng ridiculous 5000$ to write a sql query... excuse my language

anilsal
03-04-2009, 11:32 PM
Overall - $5000.

Advance - $2500 within 30 days to start the work.

Is the overall work something like 100K that they have divided by the number of requests to yield 5K per request? Unlikely. I think they just sent standard 5K demand to each FOIA request to shut it down.

tdasara
03-04-2009, 11:35 PM
Beyond logic! Above law!

breddy2000
03-04-2009, 11:47 PM
Overall - $5000.

Advance - $2500 within 30 days to start the work.

Is the overall work something like 100K that they have divided by the number of requests to yield 5K per request? Unlikely. I think they just sent standard 5K demand to each FOIA request to shut it down.

Even if they pay me $2500 for pulling out this info. Just 5 mins job to run the query and imagine if they get 10 requests per day. Man I wud be a millionaire within no time.

Atleast they acknowledged that it requires highly skilled individual(from their perspective) to do the job. :eek:

sparky_jones
03-04-2009, 11:51 PM
Someone once said...."Freedom comes at a cost.". After reading this, I am thinking...."Freedom of Information comes at a cost too....$5k to be precise"!

nc14
03-05-2009, 12:01 AM
I was amused and angry at the same time. I am just wondering if we can somehow pool money and one of us can get them started by sending a $2500 check and see where it goes.

Assuming thay the information they will share is what all of us are seeking, it is not going to be a bad deal if we can find 500 people willing to chip in for this initiative (optimist me :) ).

eb3_2004
03-05-2009, 12:03 AM
Guys,,
This is a good chance..If we get 50 people with 100$ each...we can see where it goes....I pledge 100$ if we can get 50 people..

anilsal
03-05-2009, 12:05 AM
Assuming thay the information they will share is what all of us are seeking, it is not going to be a bad deal if we can find 500 people willing to chip in for this initiative (I am an optimist guys).

If they are going to give out the information, then it should be ok to pay $5k.

Questions are:
a) How soon will the work be finished?
b) Can they please integrate this request into their processes that they generate the numbers periodically, such that visa bulletins reflect demand appropriately?

prasadn
03-05-2009, 01:10 AM
Guys,,
This is a good chance..If we get 50 people with 100$ each...we can see where it goes....I pledge 100$ if we can get 50 people..

Probably we should aim to get 200 people to contribute $25 each....if we get 100 people in the next two weeks, we can at least get USCIS started on this. I am ready to contribute $25.

Thanks,
Prasad

pa_arora
03-05-2009, 01:11 AM
If they are going to give out the information, then it should be ok to pay $5k.

Questions are:
a) How soon will the work be finished?
b) Can they please integrate this request into their processes that they generate the numbers periodically, such that visa bulletins reflect demand appropriately?
i think if we are paying for something we should have the ownership it too.

lets format a reply saying that 5K is too much for the job...if they can give us their Data Model diagram, we can give them the code in a week without any cost.

pa_arora
03-05-2009, 01:14 AM
on another thought...even if we pay them and get the work done...how do we know they give us the right figures. remember we are dealing with USCIS here. ;-)

vikki76
03-05-2009, 01:28 AM
Let's see if giving them 5K brings more transparency..seems like a good idea about pooling in money

krishna
03-05-2009, 01:47 AM
If you guys read the letter a bit carefully, it says they do not have information about the country of chargeability and they cannot share it with us. For $5K all we can get is a breakdown of how many apps are there in each category and then it will be a guessing game of how many are pending for applicants from India/China/ROW etc. Just something to keep in mind.

vine93
03-05-2009, 02:03 AM
I also got the same letter from USCIS today.

Where is the core who advised us to fax letter to USCIS. Please let us know what the action plan is ?

I am ready for $25.

kumar1
03-05-2009, 02:33 AM
Vldrao has all the information anyway, we should pay him 5000 dollars. At least he will have a nice time with 5k. What's the point giving it to the worst possible office in the whole United State of Great America?

Few months ago, Loo Doggs also asked USCIS for similar information. USCIS asked CNN to pay 10k for that. Loo Doggs was mad and his red neck viewers were amused.

nightowl76
03-05-2009, 02:51 AM
Are you asking tha the information we provide be broken down into the categories listed above, or may we group all EB-2 categories and ass EB-3 categories together?


Did her original letter actually say ass EB3??? Or did you make a typo?

belmontboy
03-05-2009, 03:23 AM
I have received a response on my request last year to USCIS for information on number of AOS applications pending. Here it is:
--------------------------------------
February 24, 2009
NRC2008065126

We received your request for information relating to Adjustment of Status applications in the employment-based category. You have specifically requested the number of pending employment based AOS applications, (excluding approved, denied) filed with USCIS since 2001, for each of the following countries and categories:
- EB-2 China
- EB-2 India
- EB-3 China
- EB-3 India
- EB-3 Mexico
- EB-3 Philippines
- EB-3 Rest of the World

Your request is being handled under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C 552). It has been assigned the following control number: NRC2008065126. Please cite th is number in any further inquiry about this request.

In order to extract the information you have requested, a customized computer program will be required. You will be charged for the time it takes to write the program as well as the time involved in running the query to extract the date. You will not be charged for duplication, review and search time. We estimate the cost to be $5000.00. Due to the time and effort involved, you will be asked to sign an advance fee agreement before we proceed with your request. In addition, a deposit of $2500.00 payable by check or money order, must be paid within 30 days of the date of this notification. Please make your check payable to the United States Treasury, Failure to submit the $2500.00 deposit within the time frame given will result in your request being administratively closed.

In order to assure that we provide the information you seek in the format you have requested, we ask that you clarify the information sought. Employment based status is broken down into the following 14 categories.
_____________

NRC2008065126
Page 2

E21 203(b)(2) PROF/EXCPTNL ABILITY
E22 SPOUSE OF ES1 OR E21
E23 CHILD OF ES1 OR E21
E26 203(b)(2) PROF/EXCPTNL ABILITY
E27 SPOUSE OF ES6
E28 CHILD OF ES6
E30 203(b)(3) CHILD OF E36, E37
E31 203(b)(3)(A)(i) SKILLED WORKER
E32 203(b)(3)(A)(ii) PROFESSIONAL
E34 203(b)(3)(A) SPOUSE OF E31, E32
E35 203(b)(3)(A) CHILD OF E31, E32
E36 203(b)(3)(A)(i) SKILLED WORKER
E37 203(b)(3)(A)(ii) PROFESSIONAL
E39 203(b)(3)(A) SPOUSE OF E36, E37

Are you asking tha the information we provide be broken down into the categories listed above, or may we group all EB-2 categories and ass EB-3 categories together?

Please define priority date.

You have asked for information concerning the country of chargeability. This information is not assigned until the application is approved or denied. Since you have requested information on pending applications only, this information is not available.

If you have any questions concerning your pending FOIA/PA request, please address them to this office, Attention: FOIA/PA Officer, or call us at 816-350-5570, or fax any FOIA/PA related correspondence to 816-350-5785.

Sincerely,

T. Diane Cejka
Director

___________________________

I will post a scan tomorrow

From what I understand, they aren't able to get the numbers by country of chargeablility.

Its funny they are asking me to define priority date ! :)

Why do they need money to respond to RTI request. IF they don't have a program, its their job to comeup with one. They shouldnot/cannot go asking for money.
Sounds like a scam.
Perhaps this should be brought to attention of Secretary of State or President.
If you have a copy, lets go to press with that.

neeidd
03-05-2009, 03:24 AM
Why do they need money to respond to RTI request. IF they don't have a program, its their job to comeup with one. They shouldnot/cannot go asking for money.
Sounds like a scam.
Perhaps this should be brought to attention of Secretary of State or President.
If you have a copy, lets go to press with that.
I am happy to pay $25 for this cause

belmontboy
03-05-2009, 03:26 AM
I am happy to pay $25 for this cause

Yes, we all here are capable of paying $25. Money is not the issue.
Its the degree to which we get exploited here, even for a RTI response.

LostInGCProcess
03-05-2009, 04:17 AM
This is what Ron Gotcher had to say about this wonderful organization:

Quote" Not even Congress has been able to rein in the INS/CIS. Repeatedly, they have passed legislation ordering the agency to produce reports on their backlogs - all of which have been ignored with impunity."

So, I think this is just another tactic to discourage people from getting the information thru FIA by charging some imaginary figure of $5k to get some basic information. This is the heights of Arrogance.

vbkris77
03-05-2009, 07:22 AM
Lets pay them to get info. It is a drop in a bucket to what we are spending. If they provide obvious wrong info, we can sue them to get our money back and it will have enough press coverage then. They have a right to ask money for FOIA if it requires further searching. It is part of the Law. So they are right in asking for money.

I can pledge 50$ for this cause.

sounakc
03-05-2009, 08:20 AM
I also got the same letter. Do I have to cough up 5000$ or I only have to pay if I want to start the process.

GCKaMaara
03-05-2009, 08:26 AM
I also got the same letter from USCIS today.

Where is the core who advised us to fax letter to USCIS. Please let us know what the action plan is ?

I am ready for $25.

I think we need to contact Ombudsman with this letter. This is ridiculuous.

sledge_hammer
03-05-2009, 08:38 AM
LOL

I like the way you tihnk! (in a good way :))

i think if we are paying for something we should have the ownership it too.

lets format a reply saying that 5K is too much for the job...if they can give us their Data Model diagram, we can give them the code in a week without any cost.

rajeshalex
03-05-2009, 09:40 AM
I will contribute 25$ on my behalf. And I suggest that we can take a copy of this letter and send it to Ombudsman, president and hilar clinton telling that USCIS even dont know how many applications with PD per country.

We can also send the copy of this letter to AILA and any other media and try to get an publicity so that ultimately aim should be like the processing times there must be a web page in USCIS where it should display each month what is the no of applications with pd per country. If we dont request this then after an year again we have to pay 5K to get this report.

Third thing is can IV management contribute some money?

Rajesh

pappu
03-05-2009, 09:46 AM
This is a good first step in this direction after our campaign for FOIA last year. If we can get the data we need, prediction on date movement and getting the clear picture on pending applications should be easy.

I personally feel 5K is too much to charge, but if this is what it takes I think we should pursue it. Lobbying for it may have cost more. We need to get more information about this and if everyone agrees we can raise funds and pay for one request to take it forward.

vbkris77
03-05-2009, 09:54 AM
Lets do it..

pappu
03-05-2009, 10:05 AM
If you guys read the letter a bit carefully, it says they do not have information about the country of chargeability and they cannot share it with us. For $5K all we can get is a breakdown of how many apps are there in each category and then it will be a guessing game of how many are pending for applicants from India/China/ROW etc. Just something to keep in mind.

Can others analyze the letter too so that we can get the info we need rather than generic info.

ajay
03-05-2009, 10:07 AM
This letter came to me also y'day dated 2/24/09.
If everybody agrees on pledging some money towards it, I also can contribute to it.

pappu
03-05-2009, 10:12 AM
Where is the core who advised us to fax letter to USCIS. Please let us know what the action plan is ?

.

Not so fast buddy. We are not on forums 24/7
The thread was posted last night and how can you expect instant reply.:D
In future if someone wants to reach us if you have any question, it is better to directly contact us rather than posting on the forum as we do not read every post.

A couple of people who got the letters have already emailed us and let us all review the letter to see if we are getting what we need from this request. Let us all agree if we want to pursue this and contribute towards this. Once we have enough people, we can go forward.

heywhat
03-05-2009, 10:13 AM
Provided we get clarification of following information ...


Priority date
When is application called approved .. when visa # assigned or pre-adjuction ?



Please define priority date.

We received your request for information relating to Adjustment of Status applications in the employment-based category. You have specifically requested the number of pending employment based AOS applications, (excluding approved, denied)

sledge_hammer
03-05-2009, 10:20 AM
Count me in for the contribution...

qasleuth
03-05-2009, 10:25 AM
Count me in for the contribution...

me too

leoindiano
03-05-2009, 10:28 AM
May be for 5000$, we need to ask, Run the analysis quarterly and send the details. Since, the query/program is written already, how big a deal it is to run and publish it.

I am in for contribution.

needhelp!
03-05-2009, 10:32 AM
I find it weird that they cannot find the info by country of chargeability. That should have been entered when they receipted the AOS applications, right?

vbkris77
03-05-2009, 10:37 AM
What we get

1. We get number of EB2,EB3 Primary and EB2,EB3 Dependent applications.

2. From the wordings, I won't be suprized if they give a summarized number from 2001.

But if someone else requested this info broken into PD buckets by month and Year, then I think we need to use that. The letter I sent had that wording, but I never received any response yet.

Here is what we don't get

1. Break up by country - Helps folks in EB3 as ROW is not current

2. Some might have not applied for AOS for various reason like their I140 is still pending, Some companies mandate that. - This could be a small percentage

3. Break-up by PD month& year

More insight is welcome.. Pre-adjudicated cases are not approved cases. So they can't eliminate them..


I have received a response on my request last year to USCIS for information on number of AOS applications pending. Here it is:
--------------------------------------
February 24, 2009
NRC2008065126

We received your request for information relating to Adjustment of Status applications in the employment-based category. You have specifically requested the number of pending employment based AOS applications, (excluding approved, denied) filed with USCIS since 2001, for each of the following countries and categories:
- EB-2 China
- EB-2 India
- EB-3 China
- EB-3 India
- EB-3 Mexico
- EB-3 Philippines
- EB-3 Rest of the World

Your request is being handled under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C 552). It has been assigned the following control number: NRC2008065126. Please cite th is number in any further inquiry about this request.

In order to extract the information you have requested, a customized computer program will be required. You will be charged for the time it takes to write the program as well as the time involved in running the query to extract the date. You will not be charged for duplication, review and search time. We estimate the cost to be $5000.00. Due to the time and effort involved, you will be asked to sign an advance fee agreement before we proceed with your request. In addition, a deposit of $2500.00 payable by check or money order, must be paid within 30 days of the date of this notification. Please make your check payable to the United States Treasury, Failure to submit the $2500.00 deposit within the time frame given will result in your request being administratively closed.

In order to assure that we provide the information you seek in the format you have requested, we ask that you clarify the information sought. Employment based status is broken down into the following 14 categories.
_____________

NRC2008065126
Page 2

E21 203(b)(2) PROF/EXCPTNL ABILITY
E22 SPOUSE OF ES1 OR E21
E23 CHILD OF ES1 OR E21
E26 203(b)(2) PROF/EXCPTNL ABILITY
E27 SPOUSE OF ES6
E28 CHILD OF ES6
E30 203(b)(3) CHILD OF E36, E37
E31 203(b)(3)(A)(i) SKILLED WORKER
E32 203(b)(3)(A)(ii) PROFESSIONAL
E34 203(b)(3)(A) SPOUSE OF E31, E32
E35 203(b)(3)(A) CHILD OF E31, E32
E36 203(b)(3)(A)(i) SKILLED WORKER
E37 203(b)(3)(A)(ii) PROFESSIONAL
E39 203(b)(3)(A) SPOUSE OF E36, E37

Are you asking tha the information we provide be broken down into the categories listed above, or may we group all EB-2 categories and ass EB-3 categories together?

Please define priority date.

You have asked for information concerning the country of chargeability. This information is not assigned until the application is approved or denied. Since you have requested information on pending applications only, this information is not available.

If you have any questions concerning your pending FOIA/PA request, please address them to this office, Attention: FOIA/PA Officer, or call us at 816-350-5570, or fax any FOIA/PA related correspondence to 816-350-5785.

Sincerely,

T. Diane Cejka
Director

___________________________

I will post a scan tomorrow

From what I understand, they aren't able to get the numbers by country of chargeablility.

Its funny they are asking me to define priority date ! :)

niklshah
03-05-2009, 10:44 AM
I am in for contribution...... some information is better than nothing what we have rite now...

gaz
03-05-2009, 10:44 AM
http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/CISOmbudsman_RR_2_Streamlining_Employment_Based_Im migrant_Processing_USCIS_Response_04-27-06.pdf

"On April 27, 2004, the Ombudsman sent an information request to USCIS for a breakdown of data for pending employment-based applications for adjustment of status to be broken down by preference classification, priority date and country of chargeability. This request attempted to reflect similar data contained within the Immigration Annual Statistical Handbook, Chart 5, for completed cases. The Ombudsman’s interest in pending employment-based workload is in part a reflection of the broader issue relating to USCIS’ ability to support the Department of State in accurately forecasting immigrant visa requirements and the visa issuance process."

"This update will enable USCIS to identify 100% of the pending employment-based visa cases. It is anticipated that this exercise will be completed by April 28, 2006. Once this exercise is complete, USCIS will be able to extract data relating to the priority date, country of chargeability and preference classification. USCIS has already entered into discussions with the Department of State to provide this detailed information not only for pending workload but for visa regressed cases as well to allow DOS to accurately manage future visa allocations in regressed workloads."


[updated]
http://www.aila.org/content/fileviewer.aspx?docid=22650&linkid=162315




so are we getting anything different from what the ombudsman has already requested (and received?)

FinalGC
03-05-2009, 10:48 AM
Guys:

Money is not the issue here....if needed I could contribute too....

However, if we take all these letters to the press..and have them run the show for us....also by keeping the confidentiality of the individual....Guys one letter from the guy who was fired from Microsoft made news all across cnn, yahoo and everywhere.....Let the press of US do the job for us....they will make USCIS accountanble. I lilke the idea about taking to the President or Sec of State....actually, if we take to the local Senator...that will be good enough....all these guys are always looking for spice reports like this to make things happen...Hopefully this will bring more transparency from USCIS and they will be forced to report status to the Govt, by which we will also see what we need to see.....

needhelp!
03-05-2009, 10:56 AM
vbkris,

We have asked for "sorting by priority date" (updated first post with original letter to USCIS), so we should get the breakdown if we can define "priority date" for them.

What we get

1. We get number of EB2,EB3 Primary and EB2,EB3 Dependent applications.

2. From the wordings, I won't be suprized if they give a summarized number from 2001.

But if someone else requested this info broken into PD buckets by month and Year, then I think we need to use that. The letter I sent had that wording, but I never received any response yet.

Here is what we don't get

1. Break up by country - Helps folks in EB3 as ROW is not current

2. Some might have not applied for AOS for various reason like their I140 is still pending, Some companies mandate that. - This could be a small percentage

3. Break-up by PD month& year

More insight is welcome.. Pre-adjudicated cases are not approved cases. So they can't eliminate them..

vbkris77
03-05-2009, 11:01 AM
I don't know if we stand a chance to define anything here. But if it is requested, I guess, they should give it. But help with Sorting, Are we asking them the actual list or just aggregate numbers?

hopefulgc
03-05-2009, 11:09 AM
excellent idea!


i think if we are paying for something we should have the ownership it too.

lets format a reply saying that 5K is too much for the job...if they can give us their Data Model diagram, we can give them the code in a week without any cost.

rajeshalex
03-05-2009, 11:13 AM
1. Let us decide how we need the data. ie what query USCIS has to run

2 make publicity of this .. ie uscis is an agency which should have the data but it is asking us to pay 5K for the data. (president, hillary clinton, aila and whoever else,...)

3 Only getting this data one time wont help us. Like USCIS processing dates , they have to run our query every month on a particular date and publsh it. Otherwise after 6 months or one year we have to pay this money again.

4 Can we appeal to the money asked by USCIS. Anyone who knows more about FOIA

5 Can we request USCIS to give us the table details and tell them we can write the query/program free of cost.


Any other suggestions..

rajesh

vbkris77
03-05-2009, 11:20 AM
Its a funny idea that we can help them write a pgm. But be real, It is a gov data and will have sensitive info. It takes money to make money. So lets spend it.. 5K is not a big deal. It is perfectly legal to ask for money when we need info from FOIA.

whitecollarslave
03-05-2009, 11:22 AM
.....

Please define priority date.
.....
Sincerely,

T. Diane Cejka
Director

....

Wait a minute. USCIS does not know the definition of priority date? No wonder we are in this mess.

rajeshalex
03-05-2009, 11:25 AM
We are not asking data from govt. We are asking the table or the data structre so that we can write a query and ask uscis to run it.

hopefulgc
03-05-2009, 11:30 AM
1) Asking for money to issue a report under FOIA cannot be justified. If the data is public, it is USCIS's job to bring it to us.

2) It is certain that we would be able to get USCIS to waive the $5k fee... but it would take time.

3) If we pay up and they make the program... we need a way so that we can request the reports at regular intervals... after all once the report is prepared, it is available and we should be able to make use of it.

4) A better idea might be to pay the $5k, but instead ask them to make an API.. to which one can we can supply the boundary priority dates using a RESTful service. If we are gonna give money.. we better get the restrained control in our hands. This will help future applicants.

gc_wow
03-05-2009, 11:37 AM
It looks like USCIS needs an "official bribe" to provide that information.No body really knows if all the applications filed are really there or they sold it to recycling companies.Send that to Senator and ask him how much would he take to get us that information.If Senator is cheaper than $5000, I would give it to Senator.

rajeshalex
03-05-2009, 11:41 AM
I like ur comment gc_wow . May be we should tell USCIS/Senator this is recession time and give us some discount.

WaitingForMyGC
03-05-2009, 12:01 PM
This is what Ron Gotcher had to say about this wonderful organization:

Quote" Not even Congress has been able to rein in the INS/CIS. Repeatedly, they have passed legislation ordering the agency to produce reports on their backlogs - all of which have been ignored with impunity."

So, I think this is just another tactic to discourage people from getting the information thru FIA by charging some imaginary figure of $5k to get some basic information. This is the heights of Arrogance.

INS/CIS has become a rogue entity like Pakistan's ISI. No govt can rein it. :-)

I don't see any harm in coughing up 5k for the information which would help us all.
Count me in for the contribution.

Openarms
03-05-2009, 12:02 PM
Not so fast buddy. We are not on forums 24/7
The thread was posted last night and how can you expect instant reply.:D
In future if someone wants to reach us if you have any question, it is better to directly contact us rather than posting on the forum as we do not read every post.

A couple of people who got the letters have already emailed us and let us all review the letter to see if we are getting what we need from this request. Let us all agree if we want to pursue this and contribute towards this. Once we have enough people, we can go forward.

This is one of the positive steps that we have taken here and glad that we got the response from CIS. So now IV needs to get expose this letter as public as possible to get the USCIS tactics out (senate, congress, president, dhs head and all in the world). And if need be that we all need to contribute to the money they are asking. This is the good one.

gapala
03-05-2009, 12:08 PM
http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/CISOmbudsman_RR_2_Streamlining_Employment_Based_Im migrant_Processing_USCIS_Response_04-27-06.pdf

"On April 27, 2004, the Ombudsman sent an information request to USCIS for a breakdown of data for pending employment-based applications for adjustment of status to be broken down by preference classification, priority date and country of chargeability. This request attempted to reflect similar data contained within the Immigration Annual Statistical Handbook, Chart 5, for completed cases. The Ombudsman’s interest in pending employment-based workload is in part a reflection of the broader issue relating to USCIS’ ability to support the Department of State in accurately forecasting immigrant visa requirements and the visa issuance process."

"This update will enable USCIS to identify 100% of the pending employment-based visa cases. It is anticipated that this exercise will be completed by April 28, 2006. Once this exercise is complete, USCIS will be able to extract data relating to the priority date, country of chargeability and preference classification. USCIS has already entered into discussions with the Department of State to provide this detailed information not only for pending workload but for visa regressed cases as well to allow DOS to accurately manage future visa allocations in regressed workloads."

[updated]
http://www.aila.org/content/fileviewer.aspx?docid=22650&linkid=162315

so are we getting anything different from what the ombudsman has already requested (and received?)

Didn't we request for the same information, other than priority date stuff, that Ombudsman was looking for in 2006, does anybody know whether CIS provided him what he requested for?

Can't they reuse the same "program", as they call it, to provide us the info that we requested for? I would suggest to atleast include a reference to this Ombudsman's request in our reply letter.

I am in for contribution too.

newuser
03-05-2009, 12:13 PM
I am ready to pitch in my contribution

logiclife
03-05-2009, 12:14 PM
Guys, let me say something here.

$5000 for one query is not an unfair amount of money. The reason I say this is because I know a thing or two about writing quality queries, I have done that for the last 6 years of my 9 year career querying the heck out of Oracle CRM.

It does take time to write queries and the time it takes depends on how many pieces of information you want to bring together. The wider your spreadsheet is for the final output, the more islands of data need to be connected to fetch that output. Those who are familiar with SQL would know that I am talking about going thru potentially 20-25 tables and joining them to get data. This is probably not going to be a select * from 485_cases kind of query. If it takes 100 hours of time to write such a query, at $50 per hour of programming time, it could be 5000. Most likely it may be fewer hours if they have a programmer with knowledge on staff.

The problem here is not 5000 dollars. The problem here is that the situation is hopeless because they dont assign country of chargeability to pending 485 cases up until they are ready to approve them, if I read it correctly. The data that is not captured is the data that cannot be queried, simple as that.

And on that note, thanks to "Needhelp!" for shining some light on USCIS process thru her FOIA.

dummgelauft
03-05-2009, 12:21 PM
While it is terrible on the part of USCIS to do so, but I believe, we have an opportunity to at least get a clear picture of what is going on in USCIS.
Count me in for a contribution.
IV Core, please set up a thread to colllect votes for this, give a time frame of 10 days to vote. Then divide equally, the $5000.0 among all those who vote "yes" for obataining this info.
This is official robbery/bribery, but is our best bet, as of now.

logiclife
03-05-2009, 12:24 PM
Based on the reply to this FOIA from Needhelp!, it seems that we have a bigger problem than transparency.

They have said that country of chargeability is not assigned until case is ready for approval. However, whether or not a case is ready for approval is determined by country of chargeability. If you have 500,000 pending cases and dont know how many cases for each country of chargeability, then the only way to respond to a visa bulletin is to go thru all 500,000 cases every month, take a peek in it, look at the PD, look at the country and see if it is up for approval. I dont think they are doing that.

Also, if priority date is something that is different for different countries, then cases for those countries have to be sorted by priority date in different silos, so that when the next bulletin comes, you know how many cases are eligible that month and which ones are the earliest cases (from PD perspective) for each country.

pappu
03-05-2009, 12:31 PM
Didn't we request for the same information, other than priority date stuff, that Ombudsman was looking for in 2006, does anybody know whether CIS provided him what he requested for?

Can't they reuse the same "program", as they call it, to provide us the info that we requested for? I would suggest to atleast include a reference to this Ombudsman's request in our reply letter.

I am in for contribution too.

I suggest, some of us send another email asking Ombudsman about this. Let us see what kind of response we get. It will be helpful to find if they got the data they requested in 2004. If they have not got it in about 4-5 years, are we also going to wait for a long time to get the data?

Nil
03-05-2009, 12:51 PM
Thanks to all of you who had taken the initiative and now sharing the results. This is far more substantial than blaming individual groups for backlog creation (that was ridiculous in this forum). Not sure why we MUST shell out whatever money they demand. IV core, kindly comment.

chanduv23
03-05-2009, 12:58 PM
The problem here is not 5000 dollars. The problem here is that the situation is hopeless because they dont assign country of chargeability to pending 485 cases up until they are ready to approve them, if I read it correctly. The data that is not captured is the data that cannot be queried, simple as that.

.

So how do they say they have a project manager and this project manager is now accurate in moving dates so there wont be any more back and forth date moment but a steady moment? Is there some kind of guess work based on different data collected?

vbkris77
03-05-2009, 01:04 PM
My Guess is that this pending cases is only based on the demand and they have other data like I140 approvals etc., to cover their bases. Their processing is strictly on RD (Not Reciept Date, Random Date) :-)..

needhelp!
03-05-2009, 01:05 PM
Try this link to see USCIS response:
http://download206.mediafire.com/xwcsdggj4yjg/blrmnntd10w/FOIA_USCISResponse.pdf (http://www.mediafire.com/?blrmnntd10w)




(http://docs.google.com/gb?export=download&id=F.1f34f696-3d7f-4896-9224-e4b5ce4e92f8)

boreal
03-05-2009, 01:15 PM
They have said that country of chargeability is not assigned until case is ready for approval. However, whether or not a case is ready for approval is determined by country of chargeability.

I think pre-adjudication solves this catch-22 situation, and they have been pre-adjudicating quite a bit over the past two years. So, I dont think that this is an issue.

desi3933
03-05-2009, 01:19 PM
I think pre-adjudication solves this catch-22 situation, and they have been pre-adjudicating quite a bit over the past two years. So, I dont think that this is an issue.

>> I think pre-adjudication solves this catch-22 situation
No. It does not.

Since, as per letter, country of chargeability is assigned at the time of approval (i.e. when immigrant visa number is assigned)


.

krishnam70
03-05-2009, 01:22 PM
i think if we are paying for something we should have the ownership it too.

lets format a reply saying that 5K is too much for the job...if they can give us their Data Model diagram, we can give them the code in a week without any cost.

This is an excellent idea and a great opportunity to show case our skills. How about IV offering as non-profit organization our expertise ( from members) to help with this and reduce cost and improving efficiency of this program for USCIS - FREE OF COST.

I am aware there might be many issues with data security etc here but at least we could propose this. As a fellow member suggested this should be a report that needs to be published every few months or so to make it transparent and traceable.Ooops wait, will it show the true picture of how efficient USCIS is if they do this? :D

I dont see it going anywhere, this is just stalling. They already have that kind of information if the statement from O'man office is any indication or they lied to the office. Either way we need to highlight this with the O'man's office first and then follow it up with Local senators and highlight it. This needs to go big way.

Getting them to give one off statement is not going to solve anything besides it might be only a starting price and might increase or are they charging the same $5000 every time somebody asks them for an update.

- cheers
kris

mirage
03-05-2009, 01:26 PM
In my opinion Let's contribute $100 each pay them and get this information. I'm sure there'll be 50 people who would want this information for $100....Atleast I'm sick of seeing Visa Dates predictions and seeing Visa bulletins itself. Atleast we'll know what we are dealing with.

nixstor
03-05-2009, 01:31 PM
Those of you who are thinking that you can write a SQL query in a snap, you are egregiously mistaken.

The CLAIMS database, which contains the AOS/485 petitions is neither a SQL database nor a modern CRM application. AFAIK, It is a legacy Mainframe system and needs significant effort and rare expertise to extract the data.

Ideally, The Country of Chargeability should be in there. But these systems were built around 92 or before and the requirements gathering probably might not have thought about retrogression or carelessly left it out. What ever it is, it is not in the electronic format, it is almost impossible to get the biographic information unless a physical check is conducted. We can cringe and cry all we want, but not a lot is going to happen on the CC

The good side of the issue is, Since EB-3 ROW is beyond 2004 and we have per country PERM data (not completely accurate, but significant), our statisticians and operations research folks will break down both data and get some thing that is valuable and accurate above 90%. We can safely assume that more than 90% EB-3 Pending before 2005 belong to I, C & M.

What bothers me is the requirement of the definition of Priority Date? You would expect some one in the CIS/NRC to know what a priority date is. Don't ya? Any ways, We are working with members who received the response to get a better answer from CIS to determine further action.

Stay tuned and we will let you know.

yvjoshi100
03-05-2009, 01:49 PM
You can count me for contribution.

desi3933
03-05-2009, 01:56 PM
.....
What bothers me is the requirement of the definition of Priority Date? You would expect some one in the CIS/NRC to know what a priority date is. ....

22 CFR § 42.53 Priority date of individual applicants
The priority date of a preference visa applicant under INA 203 (a) or (b) shall be the filing date of the approved petition that accorded preference status.

http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2002/aprqtr/pdf/22cfr42.53.pdf


______________________
Not a legal advice
US citizen of Indian origin

mirage
03-05-2009, 02:02 PM
If you are from India. All you should just ask for
How Many EB India applications Pending by year and by Category. So give us Information like how Many Applications for Indian Citizens pending in
2001 EB3 & EB2
2002 EB3 & EB2
2003 EB3 & EB2
....
2007 EB3 & EB2

$5000 shouldn't be a big deal for a quarter million community who's seeking some information on this...I guess either IV should start and campaign and collect money for this or we can saperately collect money for this..



I have received a response on my request last year to USCIS for information on number of AOS applications pending. Here it is:
--------------------------------------
February 24, 2009
NRC2008065126


____________________________
Here is the original letter template sent to USCIS

dallasdude
03-05-2009, 02:10 PM
Nice job fellas. God bless all of you for getting involved in this. You can expect a contribution from me as well.

Madhuri
03-05-2009, 02:11 PM
I am in for contribution. As many other members suggested we should insiste them to run the report every quarter or so.

ItIsNotFunny
03-05-2009, 02:13 PM
Based on the reply to this FOIA from Needhelp!, it seems that we have a bigger problem than transparency.

They have said that country of chargeability is not assigned until case is ready for approval. However, whether or not a case is ready for approval is determined by country of chargeability. If you have 500,000 pending cases and dont know how many cases for each country of chargeability, then the only way to respond to a visa bulletin is to go thru all 500,000 cases every month, take a peek in it, look at the PD, look at the country and see if it is up for approval. I dont think they are doing that.

Also, if priority date is something that is different for different countries, then cases for those countries have to be sorted by priority date in different silos, so that when the next bulletin comes, you know how many cases are eligible that month and which ones are the earliest cases (from PD perspective) for each country.

I think we need to build case with proper arguments and present in front of Ombudsman.

hopefulgc
03-05-2009, 02:30 PM
Yep.

If the EB system is categorized by country quota, what is what would be the apparent use of capturing data without the unlerlying country of origin of the applicant?
If the data is truly not available, what system are they using to anticipate demand and inform the DOS?




Based on the reply to this FOIA from Needhelp!, it seems that we have a bigger problem than transparency.

They have said that country of chargeability is not assigned until case is ready for approval. However, whether or not a case is ready for approval is determined by country of chargeability. If you have 500,000 pending cases and dont know how many cases for each country of chargeability, then the only way to respond to a visa bulletin is to go thru all 500,000 cases every month, take a peek in it, look at the PD, look at the country and see if it is up for approval. I dont think they are doing that.

Also, if priority date is something that is different for different countries, then cases for those countries have to be sorted by priority date in different silos, so that when the next bulletin comes, you know how many cases are eligible that month and which ones are the earliest cases (from PD perspective) for each country.

hopefulgc
03-05-2009, 02:37 PM
If it is an IBM 3270, 5250, etc mainframe it still wouldn't take that long.
Let me take it a step further.
If the information is stored as a segregated flat file, it won't take that long.
One could just proxy a perl/java gateway and write a script to parse data.

Who does it.. makes all the difference.


Those of you who are thinking that you can write a SQL query in a snap, you are egregiously mistaken.

The CLAIMS database, which contains the AOS/485 petitions is neither a SQL database nor a modern CRM application. AFAIK, It is a legacy Mainframe system and needs significant effort and rare expertise to extract the data.

Ideally, The Country of Chargeability should be in there. But these systems were built around 92 or before and the requirements gathering probably might not have thought about retrogression or carelessly left it out. What ever it is, it is not in the electronic format, it is almost impossible to get the biographic information unless a physical check is conducted. We can cringe and cry all we want, but not a lot is going to happen on the CC

The good side of the issue is, Since EB-3 ROW is beyond 2004 and we have per country PERM data (not completely accurate, but significant), our statisticians and operations research folks will break down both data and get some thing that is valuable and accurate above 90%. We can safely assume that more than 90% EB-3 Pending before 2005 belong to I, C & M.

What bothers me is the requirement of the definition of Priority Date? You would expect some one in the CIS/NRC to know what a priority date is. Don't ya? Any ways, We are working with members who received the response to get a better answer from CIS to determine further action.

Stay tuned and we will let you know.

nixstor
03-05-2009, 03:04 PM
If it is an IBM 3270, 5250, etc mainframe it still wouldn't take that long.
Let me take it a step further.
If the information is stored as a segregated flat file, it won't take that long.
One could just proxy a perl/java gateway and write a script to parse data.

Who does it.. make all the difference.

K, I did not intend to get into a technical discussion here, When I made the initial post. There are issues at government agencies beyond the technical nitty gritty and my post was to point out that the skill set required is not the SQL/CRM of today. Suggestions such as we can offer expertise in return does not go any where as the systems on which the databases reside are not playgrounds, where we can write code and extract what ever we want. There are change control issues, security clearance issues, just to name two on top of my head. The total time for response is not just the time it takes to develop and run a computer program and provide us results. There are administrative issues at different level of abstractions at every org and CIS sure does have a bit more of that. All these consume time. At this point, the NRC response does not indicate time but indicates cost. We are trying to find the total time it takes to send a response back to us. Based on the response time, further action needs to be taken. It is illogical and absurd to just keep thinking technically. Take of your techie hat and think beyond. All comments in jest!

For those who are wondering big time that the country of charge ability/nationality is not captured in CLAIMS, you must have missed that stake holder meeting in which CIS clearly mentioned that it will take lot of $$ to re design their system to capture biographic information and will not be able to do so. Well, what can you say, even after raising the fees by 100% CIS does not have the money to serve beneficiaries who keep filing their flagship cash cow applications such as I-131/I-765. If some one still have the link, please post it.

needhelp!
03-05-2009, 03:32 PM
Still puzzled and wondering why they would ask about PD.

Is this something we have to fill out on the AOS application?

I know it is not always the labor filing date, it can be the I-140 filing date if someone didn't require labor cert.

But, do we fill this date out on 485 app and is it entered into their system?

x1050us
03-05-2009, 03:32 PM
Another FOIA case http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aG0_2ZIA96TI&refer=home

yabadaba
03-05-2009, 03:42 PM
needhelp...maybe instead of country of chargeability we should ask for grouping by country of birth; this is an actual field required in the I-485 form.

You are right about priority date. It is not a field available in the 485 form. in the 485 form we reference the approved I-140, which is the only place where your see the "Priority Date" field.

yabadaba
03-05-2009, 03:43 PM
http://www.jingchenglaw.com/frontend/successstories/I_140_01.jpg


http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-485.pdf

also in the 485 form, please take a look on the right hand side where it says uscis use only....thats where they have "country chargeable," and I guess they are right that they make the determination during adjudication.

needhelp!
03-05-2009, 03:53 PM
Yes, country of birth should get us close.

needhelp...maybe instead of country of chargeability we should ask for grouping by country of birth; this is an actual field required in the I-485 form.

You are right about priority date. It is not a field available in the 485 form. in the 485 form we reference the approved I-140, which is the only place where your see the "Priority Date" field.

oliTwist
03-05-2009, 04:21 PM
I think I know how this works. They would outsource this program to some govt contractor (or ask the govt contractor who is working on their data ) to produce that report which costs (<10$ worth of time/effort, if they have all the data).

If all they want is money ..so be it. I am ready to pony up $50 for this,if we all approach together. But as someone suggested country of chargability is a must.

sanju
03-05-2009, 04:58 PM
Ya, I am thinking of starting an outsourcing company which could take this stupid easy work from USCIS and outsource all that work to Thailand. Then I will sponsor work visa for all these bumps at USCIS to work in the outsourced site. Soon you will see me in the court of loo doggs answering his question "how in the world did you outsource all these 'american' jobs"? And my answer would be 'because these guys were all genius and were expert at eastimating the cost of running a query. So we hired bunch of them to represent the company with USCIS."

.

I think I know how this works. They would outsource this program to some govt contractor (or ask the govt contractor who is working on their data ) to produce that report which costs (<10$ worth of time/effort, if they have all the data).

If all they want is money ..so be it. I am ready to pony up $50 for this,if we all approach together. But as someone suggested country of chargability is a must.

ItIsNotFunny
03-05-2009, 05:07 PM
http://www.jingchenglaw.com/frontend/successstories/I_140_01.jpg


http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-485.pdf

also in the 485 form, please take a look on the right hand side where it says uscis use only....thats where they have "country chargeable," and I guess they are right that they make the determination during adjudication.

This is confusing. In that case how do they make ROW current or PDs way ahead of India? In other words, how do they know without touching a file that PD of a ROW file is current and is eligible to get GC!

Think about the flip side. If this is true, then once they preadjuridict all cases, thousands of ROW cases will immediately become eligible to get GC and India / China will not move for year(s)!

yagw
03-05-2009, 05:15 PM
I can pitch in for this cause. But as others mentioned, we need to make sure what we are getting for the money and when. We can also ask for break down of charges for the money they are asking. How about involving the CIS Ombudsman and definitely GAO.

yagw

asanghi
03-05-2009, 07:02 PM
The term "Priority Date" appeared 10 times in last Visa Bulletin.

I wonder how USCIS is able to follow Visa Bulletin, without understanding this term.

I will contribute $25, if we decide to go this route. However I agree with all who say that we should ask them to make this info available periodically & REGULARLY (so that it does not end up like updates on processing dates)

krishnam70
03-05-2009, 07:07 PM
This is confusing. In that case how do they make ROW current or PDs way ahead of India? In other words, how do they know without touching a file that PD of a ROW file is current and is eligible to get GC!

Think about the flip side. If this is true, then once they preadjuridict all cases, thousands of ROW cases will immediately become eligible to get GC and India / China will not move for year(s)!

:D
They have already provided some kind of information to the Ombudsman's office so they must already have that information. It makes no sense otherwise how they would determine how many number of visa's they have available for each country or determine what are the PD's for each country.

OR
They do not have any program that can do it like that and that is why they did not use the full quota of visas which might have come out due to the inquiry of the Ombudsman's office.

Nixtor,
I did not say it was easy with bureaucracy and security, my response had those concerns highlighted on the other hand you may be right about the process being extremely manual where a physical verification is needed on each file which means all of us are in deep sh**t because they are working on some vague assumptions that visa numbers are /arent available and in the process we might be losing out something more or there is probably a gaint 'REGISTER' somewhere where people go and make physical entries :D:D every time a visa is allocated which will give the count... like an account book. all the above in jest ofcourse

Something ought be done about it and either way we should report it to Media and Ombudsman's office and if we still want to pay up the $5000 we can do so.


-cheers
kris

nandakumar
03-05-2009, 08:34 PM
Today I got a letter from USCIS office at Lee's Summit, MO stating that it would cost app $5000 for the customozed computer program to retrive the data.

I can contribute if IV decide to sign up for this.

gapala
03-05-2009, 09:23 PM
$5000 shouldn't be a big deal for a quarter million community who's seeking some information on this...I guess either IV should start and campaign and collect money for this or we can saperately collect money for this..

Sounds great!
Where did you get this number from? :D:D:D:D
May be you had a cartesian join :))

EB3IFiasco
03-05-2009, 11:05 PM
The letter is a clear indication that Dept. of State and USCIS are not in sync. The concept of priority date apparently is only used by DOS and not the USCIS. God knows how PDs cutoff's are determined given this incoherency between USCIS and DOS.

arunmohan
03-06-2009, 01:28 AM
I have received the same response from USCIS for FOIA. They are asking $5000 for giving the information.

I am ready to contribute if someone or IV takes initiative.

raajpagare
03-06-2009, 03:49 AM
They wrote "ass" instead of "all". Is it a freudian slip or they are deliberately calling us names on the sly :)

Devils_Advocate
03-06-2009, 03:54 AM
They wrote "ass" instead of "all". Is it a freudian slip or they are deliberately calling us names on the sly :)

Dude, if you see the keyboard, s and L are on oppposite ends, so no way Ass was a typo on ALL, LMAO, USCIS taking out their frustration on ass i mean us ;)

raajpagare
03-06-2009, 06:44 AM
Dude, if you see the keyboard, s and L are on oppposite ends, so no way Ass was a typo on ALL, LMAO, USCIS taking out their frustration on ass i mean us ;)

We better not point it out to them, otherwise they will add the cost of proof reading their letters in the fees too :rolleyes:

BTW I am up for $25 if there is an agreement to go with this request.

amslonewolf
03-06-2009, 08:11 AM
I received the same response.

I would like to contribute as well.

jsb
03-06-2009, 11:05 AM
I suggest, some of us send another email asking Ombudsman about this. Let us see what kind of response we get. It will be helpful to find if they got the data they requested in 2004. If they have not got it in about 4-5 years, are we also going to wait for a long time to get the data?

This case should be sent to Ombudsman, perhaps by IV, clearly stating that information is needed for decision making on PD cut off dates announced every month, which does not seemingly exist. They need it for their internal working, not for an external query by a client.

BTW, I believe they have grossly underestimated the cost. How did they estimate the cost if they don't even know what is a PD.

What is needed, is not just a computer query. Most of the information (e.g. Priority Date of an applicant) exists only in paper format, perhaps just on AOS applications we submit. For monthly bulletins they only guess based on general progress in preceding months. Isn't clear from faster cutoff date movements in later part of the year, followed by retrogression. The fact is that information sought is neither readily available, nor can it be found that easily.

Even if a lot of waiting folks collect funds as suggested in this thread and send them, how do you know what you get is accurate. Most likely it wont be, due to poor understanding of what is needed, and no way to confirm on how they extract this information.

chanduv23
03-06-2009, 11:15 AM
I received the same response yesterday.

jsb
03-06-2009, 11:43 AM
Based on the reply to this FOIA from Needhelp!, it seems that we have a bigger problem than transparency.

They have said that country of chargeability is not assigned until case is ready for approval. However, whether or not a case is ready for approval is determined by country of chargeability. If you have 500,000 pending cases and dont know how many cases for each country of chargeability, then the only way to respond to a visa bulletin is to go thru all 500,000 cases every month, take a peek in it, look at the PD, look at the country and see if it is up for approval. I dont think they are doing that.

Also, if priority date is something that is different for different countries, then cases for those countries have to be sorted by priority date in different silos, so that when the next bulletin comes, you know how many cases are eligible that month and which ones are the earliest cases (from PD perspective) for each country.

Their systems are not designed for country chargeability and priority date considerations. Although some of the information is in computer systems for reporting, publication, online status, automatic emails, etc, most of it is paper based. They claim that they process cases in order they (physically) receive them at each processing center.

Possibly, what they do is that they pick cases from shelves in sequence they stacked when they received them, check various docs such as medical, birth certificates, copie of I-140, passports, etc., and then, if all ok, check for country of chargeability. If that is India or China, then they look at the current bulletin dates. If case is within cutoff dates, proceed, else put it back, and take next file.

Therefore, they are correct in saying that chargeability is determined (means: looked at) when case is ready (meaning: it is next in line) for reviewing and adjudication.

Note that there is no physical file sorting based on chargeability/PD etc. Bulletins are just best guesses based on general progress in preceding months.

sledge_hammer
03-06-2009, 11:48 AM
There is an effor already is progress -

http://immigrationvoice.org/forum/showthread.php?p=323744#post323744

BTW I am up for $25 if there is an agreement to go with this request.

Madhuri
03-06-2009, 01:01 PM
I received the same response. I am in for contribution.

ItIsNotFunny
03-06-2009, 01:02 PM
I received the same response. I am in for contribution.

Please vote and respond here:

http://immigrationvoice.org/forum/showthread.php?p=323744#post323744

jkays94
03-06-2009, 01:40 PM
Requesting a Fee Waiver

To qualify for a fee waiver, a requester must demonstrate that disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. Your fee waiver request should include a detailed justification to support your claim of public interest. Your justification must also include how the information will be provided and distributed to the public.

http://www.dhs.gov/xfoia/editorial_0316.shtm

mirage
03-06-2009, 01:47 PM
I may not need to tell you this but you are dealing with most greedy, money making machine in US govt. System. This organization churned out 200K EAD last year in 1 week, just so that they don't have to issue 2 years EADs. This org. is rejecting I-485 to get $1000 MTR fees, they will not spare any chance to take money from your pocket. I would say Instead of asking them for the fee waiver and wait 3 months for their 'NO', just give them the 5K and move on...

Requesting a Fee Waiver

To qualify for a fee waiver, a requester must demonstrate that disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. Your fee waiver request should include a detailed justification to support your claim of public interest. Your justification must also include how the information will be provided and distributed to the public.

http://www.dhs.gov/xfoia/editorial_0316.shtm

jsb
03-06-2009, 02:15 PM
I may not need to tell you this but you are dealing with most greedy, money making machine in US govt. System. This organization churned out 200K EAD last year in 1 week, just so that they don't have to issue 2 years EADs. This org. is rejecting I-485 to get $1000 MTR fees, they will not spare any chance to take money from your pocket. I would say Instead of asking them for the fee waiver and wait 3 months for their 'NO', just give them the 5K and move on...

While it may seem that USCIS/DOS does what it does for increasing their cash-flow, real reasons are just those applicable to any government organization. Their demand for $5K was just a thoughtless response, which may always be their first response to all such public requests. The fact is that, what is sought should already be available for their decison making. Case should be raised with Ombudsman, for bringing out inefficiency such as this, in regard to crucial information needed for determining monthly cut-off dates, and forecastings. Ombudsman's office loves information on such systematic poor govt operations.

needhelp!
03-06-2009, 05:15 PM
http://www.uscis.gov/files/article/FOIAAnnRptFY08.pdf

Number of Backlogged Requests as of End of Fiscal Year: 67,545

FOIA has its own backlog!

EkAurAaya
03-06-2009, 05:23 PM
http://www.uscis.gov/files/article/FOIAAnnRptFY08.pdf

Number of Backlogged Requests as of End of Fiscal Year: 67,545

FOIA has its own backlog!

LOL - they will set up a BEC for FOIA requests...

Paying money for something that will give us results is fine (although I strongly feel this information should be free for whoever requests - that is the whole point of FOIA), but paying for something that has no commitment from USCIS to any date's is in my view throwing away money for their pizza parties or whatever else they do over there besides work.

needhelp!
03-06-2009, 06:16 PM
Section 6: Time Limits for Agencies to Act on Requests Section 6 of the Open Government Act has two provisions that address time limits for complying with FOIA requests, and the consequences of failing to do so. Significantly, this section does not take effect until one year after the date of enactment and will apply to FOIA requests “filed on or after that effective date.” Accordingly, agencies have until December 31, 2008 to take any necessary steps to prepare for the implementation of this Section.
First, section 6(a) of the Open Government Act amends 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A) which gives the statutory time period for processing FOIA requests, and includes criteria for when that time period begins to run and when that time period may be suspended or “tolled.” Specifically, section 6(a) provides that the statutory time period commences “on the date on which the request is first received by the appropriate component of the agency, but in any event not later than ten days after the request is first received by any component of the agency that is designated in the agency’s regulations under this section to receive requests.” This provision addresses the situation where a FOIA request is received by a component of an agency that is designated to receive FOIA requests, but is not the proper component for the request at issue. In such a situation, the component that receives the request in error – provided it is a component of the agency that is designated by the agency’s regulations to receive requests – has ten working days within which to forward the FOIA request to the appropriate agency component for processing. Once the FOIA request has been forwarded and received by the appropriate agency component – which must take place within ten working days – the statutory time period to respond to the request commences.
Section 6(a) further provides for those circumstances when an agency may toll the statutory time period. Specifically, an agency “may make one request to the requester for information and toll” the statutory time period “while it is awaiting such information that it has reasonably requested from the requester.” The agency may also toll the time period “if necessary to clarify with the requester issues regarding fee assessment.” There is no limit given for the number of times an agency may go back to a requester to clarify issues regarding fee assessments – which sometimes may need to be done in stages as the records are being located and processed. In both situations, section 6(a) specifies that the requester’s response to the agency’s request “ends the tolling period.”
Second, section 6(b) addresses compliance with the FOIA’s time limits by amending 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A), the provision addressing fees. Section 6(b) adds a clause to that provision providing that “[a]n agency shall not assess search fees (or in the case of a [favored] requester [i.e., one who qualifies as an educational or noncommercial scientific institution, or as a representative of the news media] duplication fees) . . . if the agency fails to comply with any time limit under paragraph (6), if no unusual or exceptional circumstances (as those terms are defined for purposes of (6)(B) and (C), respectively) apply to the processing of the request.”
As noted in the language of the new provision, the terms “unusual circumstances” and “exceptional circumstances” are existing terms in the FOIA. “Unusual circumstances” occur when there is a need to search or collect records from field offices, or other establishments; when there is a need to search for and examine a voluminous amount of records; or when there is a need for consultation with another agency or with more than two components within the same agency. Unlike “unusual circumstances,” “exceptional circumstances” are not affirmatively defined in the FOIA, but the FOIA does provide that “exceptional circumstances” cannot include “a delay that results from a predictable agency workload of requests . . . unless the agency demonstrates reasonable progress in reducing its backlog of pending requests.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(C)(ii). In addition, the statute provides that the “[r]efusal by a person to reasonably modify the scope of a request, or arrange an alternative time frame for processing the request . . . shall be considered as a factor in determining whether exceptional circumstances exist.” Id. at § 552(a)(6)(C)(iii).
Section 6(b) therefore precludes an agency from assessing search fees (or in the case of “favored” requesters, duplication fees), if the agency fails to comply with the FOIA’s time limits, unless “unusual” or “exceptional” circumstances “apply to the processing of the request.”
Finally, section 6(b) amends 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B)(ii), which discusses notification to requesters regarding the time limits and the option of arranging an alternative time frame for processing, by directing agencies “[t]o aid the requester” by making “available its FOIA Public Liaison, who shall assist in the resolution of any disputes between the requester and the agency.” This provision incorporates an existing aspect of Executive Order 13,392.
The Department of Justice will be providing guidance to agencies in the near future on section 6.

simplefun
03-06-2009, 09:24 PM
We should get 5-10 immigration firms like murthy or AILA to sponsor this research.

rajarao
03-06-2009, 09:38 PM
I too got the exact letter. I was annoyed to see they do not know what is the priority date. Now we know the reason for random approvals.

I will be faxing to core, also will contribute for responding as decided by core

mirage
03-06-2009, 11:04 PM
I think they came up wit 5K figure just to say F.. off in a gentle way...They never thought that we'll collect 5K and give them. I really think this should be sent out to media and immigration subcommittees, complaining we are paying hefty fees to live in the country on the contrary we are asked for this kind of money to get information which USCIS should have been publishing atleast quarterly...

conundrum
03-07-2009, 01:06 PM
Got the letter last week and I am willing to contribute for this cause.

But if we are paying up I think we should find out who has the earliest notice date / number and use that to ask for the info that way we can avoid at least some of the backlog.

Even though I have voted for $25 contribution, wouldn't mind paying more if there is a shortage of funds.

Openarms
03-07-2009, 03:19 PM
Got the same letter from USCIS asking for $5000. If they are asking all the people who sent this request the this kind of money... I wonder how much money they are expecting from this "Program Writing" thing??? IV and We all have to question this insane tactics and this needs to be exposed to press and politicians. I don't think Murthy or AILA or some others do any benefit to us it is already proven many times.

Openarms
03-07-2009, 03:27 PM
oooohhhhh by the way they never should ask money for this public service. They are just playing with us. There are similar things happened with USCIS and they got strong and angry reply from congress in the past. That is why we collectively need to contact congress...I wonder why IV is not forth forward in this effort from the gecko???