USCIS Touts Transparency with Electronic Reading Room

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the opening of the agency’s updated Electronic Reading Room, a result of a renewed commitment to transparency.

Within the updated Electronic Reading Room, interested parties gain access to leader and policymaker insights with the availability of policy documents and external correspondence sent to and received from leadership.

Visitors to the Electronic Reading Room gain access to agency leaders’ “cleared policy documents and external correspondence.” According to a USCIS release, the agency also provides “access to information that had been requested at least three times and had been provided under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).”

Visitors to the reading room navigate the site search documents using a category drop-down list. Among the topics included in the category list:

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  • E-B5 Immigrant Investors
  • E-Verify
  • H-1B Special Occupations
  • Temporary Protective Status (TPS)

In all, USCIS offers 20 topics within Electronic Reading Room, twice as many as had been available previously. Site navigation also lets users search other specific terms and to search by date.

Officials note that along with the effort toward transparency, agency priorities include the continuation of the release of documents as part of the standard operating procedure.

USCIS points to the Immigration Policy and Procedural Memoranda and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) FOIA sites as related links.  The policy memoranda pageprovides access to various policy and procedural memoranda which gives guidance to USCIS adjudicators in their work of processing applications and petitions for immigration benefits while still protecting national security.” The DHS FOIA page includes information on management directives, an FOIA library, and other related information.

For USCIS, the documents released serves to build trust in the agency. “We plan on including more categories in the future because we are committed to being transparent about how we operate and what information we provide to others.”