I received a final response on my FOIA request for any memoranda or guidance directed to BIA members. I was surprised by how much we received. Here they are:
- BIA Style Manual_redline_Redacted (242 pgs)
- 15-05 Handling Cases Involving Certain Applications for Cancellation and Suspension
These are the policies and procedures we previously received in response to this request:
- 12-02 DHS Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion
- 10-05 Processing Cases Subject to a Protective Order
- Referral for Three-Board Member Review
- 04-02 IJ Decisions Imbedded in the Transcripts
- 08-03 The Board’s Standard_Scope of Review
- 08-06 Admin Closure of ABC Cases
- 13-02 Unrepresented Detained Aliens with Competency Issues
- 17-04 UPDATE re DACA Paragraph
- 17-05 Admin Closure of cases re TPS
Obviously I still have questions and will likely file an appeal. One question is about the numbering. If there is a a policy called “13-02” does that mean it was the second policy announcement from 2013? From my review of these files, that appears to be how they’re numbered. But, if that’s the case, why weren’t the rest of them produced?
The response letter identifies a document entitled “The Draft Emergency Stay United Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)” but says that document is being withheld as “pre-decisional” under exemption (b)(5). But as long as it’s a guidance memorandum and not specific to any person’s case, it’s almost impossible that document is “pre-decisional.” Maricopa Audubon Soc’y v. United States Forest Serv.,108 F.3d 1089, 1094 (9th Cir. 1997) (“the agency must identify a specific decision to which the document is predecisional”).
Given those two issues, we’ll likely file an appeal.