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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

TRAC Releases New Asylum Data Tools, Adds Data on Gender, Language, and Age

“The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University released two brand new interactive asylum data tools that allow users to view detailed data on asylum applications and the asylum backlog in Immigration Court. TRAC also added detailed information on gender, language, and age—valuable information that is of considerable public interest—to its new and existing asylum tools. TRAC’s asylum tools are based upon a detailed analysis of the millions of Immigration Court records covering cases where applications for asylum were filed. These individual case records were obtained through requests made by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), a unit within the Department of Justice in which these administrative courts are housed.

  • TRAC’s “Asylum Filings” tool provides the public with the ability to view information about asylum cases based on when they were filed in Immigration Court. Users can view the current status of cases, case outcomes (if it has been rendered), case counts, and demographic data about applicants. Click here to view TRAC’s new asylum filings tool.
  • TRAC’s “Asylum Backlog” tool provides the public with the ability to view information about all pending cases on which asylum applications have been filed with the Immigration Courts. The number of pending asylum cases as well as wait times are available. One can now view the backlog by demographic data about applicants, representation, custody and more. (Note: Due to the length of time needed after the start of the case to file an asylum application, this tool provides an underestimate of the number of asylum seekers with pending cases since it misses those who have not yet filed their application.) Click here to view TRAC’s new asylum backlog tool.
  • TRAC’s “Asylum Decisions” tool provides the public with the ability to view information about all asylum decisions that have been entered by Immigration Judges. TRAC’s longstanding asylum decisions tool has been a staple of public understanding about asylum cases, but now includes additional data on language, gender, and age. Click here to view TRAC’s expanded asylum decisions tool.

As Calls to Ban Books Intensify, Digital Librarians Offer Perspective

Internet Archive Blogs: “From Texas to Virginia to Pennsylvania, there is a growing movement to challenge books in schools that some suggest are inappropriate for students. Concern goes beyond explicit content; it now includes opposition to LGBTQIA material, the history of racism, and material that may cause discomfort to readers. While efforts to ban books… Continue Reading

We’re Making the Facebook Papers Public

Gizmodo – Here’s Why and How – “Independent experts from NYU, UMass Amherst, Columbia, Marquette, and the ACLU are partnering with Gizmodo to responsibly publish this historic leak. In one of Silicon Valley’s largest leaks, a former Facebook product manager slipped financial regulators stacks of documents containing thousands of confidential memos, chat logs, and a… Continue Reading

U.S. reaches tentative settlement in excessive PACER fees lawsuit

Reuters: “The U.S. government has agreed in principle to resolve a class action lawsuit brought by a group of nonprofits alleging the federal judiciary overcharged the public for access to court documents through its PACER system. The tentative settlement was disclosed in a status report filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Monday, more… Continue Reading

New ABA Legal Fact Check explores conflict over presidential executive privilege

“A new ABA Legal Fact Check released [November 17, 2021] examines whether a former U.S. president can constitutionally assert executive privilege to block the release of presidential documents held by the National Archives and Records Administration and subpoenaed by Congress. The question of whether former President Donald Trump has a legal basis to block a… Continue Reading

Public Libraries Are Under Attack. Here’s How You Can Help

Harpers Bazaar – “Former librarian Angie Manfredi on the freedom to read and what you can do to support your local libraries from encroaching censorship…Nationwide, public and school librarians, along with teachers, have been under constant siege from this tide of complaints and objections, often from people who have never read the books they are… Continue Reading

Deeply Rooted: History’s Lessons for Equity in Northern Virginia

“Today’s health disparities reflect deep social divides in Northern Virginia. Decades of public health research have shown that education, income, housing, and other social conditions are powerful determinants of life expectancy and disease rates. Disparities in these living conditions, along with the harmful health effects of chronic exposure to discrimination, are products of the history… Continue Reading

UVA Law Librarian Sues DOJ to Force Release of List of Corporate Crime Settlements

Corporate Crime Reporter – The Justice Department maintains a comprehensive list of corporate crime settlements. The Trump Justice Department refused to make the list public. And now the Biden Justice Department is refusing to release the list. So last week, Jon Ashley filed a lawsuit to force the Biden Justice Department to release it. Ashley… Continue Reading

Why COVID-19 Probably Killed More People Than We Realize

Harvard Business Working Knowledge: “Millions of people around the world have died from COVID-19, according to government records, but research by Ethan Rouen, George Serafeim, and Botir Kobilov suggests that the actual number could be much higher. As the number of casualties from COVID-19 ballooned at an alarming rate last year, some feared that government… Continue Reading

Tracking Freedom of Information Act Libraries

Center for Data Innovation: “Lisa DeLuca, a data librarian associated with Seton Hall University, has updated a dataset tracking Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) libraries. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires federal agencies in the United States to make certain records available to the public, and FOIA libraries serve as the official government repositories… Continue Reading

Here’s the FBI’s Internal Guide for Getting Data from AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon

Vice: “The newly obtained document shows in granular detail the sort of data that the country’s carriers keep, and for how long. Much of the information reiterates what we already knew about law enforcement access to telecommunications data—how officials can request location data from a telecom with a warrant or use court orders to obtain… Continue Reading

Free Law Project – Our Financial Disclosure Database is Now Available to All

“Two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal published their blockbuster report detailing over 100 judges that had likely violated the Ethics in Government act. To do their work, the Wall Street Journal reporters had exclusive access to our database of financial disclosures. Today we are making the database available to all. Included in the database… Continue Reading