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June 30, 2015

Syracuse Profs Granted Reduced FOIA Fee
By Kevin Lessmiller

Two professors are entitled to lower processing fees for a public records request because its purpose is educational and journalistic, a federal judge ruled. Syracuse University professors Susan Long and David Burnham filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, in November 2013, seeking electronic data from the ICE database. Long and Burnham's request was filed on behalf of Syracuse's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC. The specific information sought included all data from a shared ICE operational database, an "integrated decision support system," and a full legal case management database. The professors also asked for Customs and Border Protection data libraries, the ruling states. ICE denied Long and Burnham's request to be classified as representatives of an educational institution or news media for the purposes of reduced FOIA fees. ICE had previously treated TRAC as both an educational and news media requester but denied the professors' request this time, claiming they did not adequately explain how the information they sought would further TRAC's educational and journalist missions, according to the ruling.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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