The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) can be very useful but also frustrating. What are speedy and effective ways of getting information? What can be done now that the government is taking longer and longer to reply to FOIA requests? Join our experts as they share their experiences and offer their best FOIA tips and tricks.
- Do You Have to (and Should You) Use Form G-639? What Information Must Be Included, and What Should You Leave Out, to Protect Your Client?
- Tips and Tricks for FOIA Requests Before USCIS, ICE, CBP, DOS, EOIR, and OBIM
- How to Fight Agency Delays with Expedite Requests, Identifying the Right Processing Track for Your FOIA Request, and Litigation
- What Are the Most Common FOIA Exemptions? What Arguments Work Best to Secure the Release of the Most Documents?
- How to File Quick and Effective FOIA Appeals
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Amber L. Weeks (DL), AILA Distance Learning Committee Co-Chair, Albuquerque, NM
Amber L. Weeks is a Partner at Noble & Vrapi, P.A., with offices in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces, NM. Ms. Weeks has expertise in a broad range of immigration matters and appeals, including family petitions, adjustment of status, consular processing, humanitarian visas, waivers, naturalization, removal defense, appeals and federal litigation. Ms. Weeks is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and regularly presents and publishes at both the national and local levels. Ms. Weeks currently serves as Co-Chair of the AILA Distance Learning Committee, the AILA-ICE Liaison for New Mexico, and as a member of the AILA USCIS Field Operations Committee.
Matthew L. Hoppock, Shawnee, KS
Matthew L. Hoppock is the owner of Hoppock Law Firm, LLC. He is a past chair of the AILA Missouri and Kansas Chapter and currently serves on AILA’s Federal Court Litigation Section Steering Committee. Mr. Hoppock received his J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law (2008).
Michael W. Gahagan, Metairie, LA
Michael W. Gahagan is the owner of Gahagan Law Firm, L.L.C. - The Immigration Law Firm of New Orleans. Mr. Gahagan practices Immigration Law and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) law exclusively in federal courts and immigration courts nationwide. Mr. Gahagan has been a member of AILA since 2008 and the AILA Federal Litigation Section since 2013. Mr. Gahagan has been the AILA MidSouth Chapter Federal Court Litigation Chairman since 2013 and the AILA MidSouth Chapter Federal Litigation Liaison since 2019. Mr. Gahagan has also been an AILA National Committee Member on the Distance Learning Committee from 2017 to 2019. In addition to holding positions within AILA, Mr. Gahagan is consistently invited to be an expert speaker at AILA conventions and State Bar conventions worldwide on the topics of immigration law, federal immigration litigation, FOIA, FOIA litigation, and the Administrative Procedure Act. Mr. Gahagan has successfully represented hundreds of clients in federal court litigation against the DHS, USCIS, ICE, and CBP. Michael W. Gahagan can be contacted at MichaelGahagan@ImmigrationLawNewOrleans.com; (504) 766-9137; and 3445 N. Causeway Blvd., Ste. 524, Metairie, LA. 70002.
Claudia Valenzuela, FOIA Attorney, American Immigration Council, Chicago, IL
Claudia Valenzuela is a Senior Attorney with the American Immigration Council. Claudia’s work at the Council focuses on transparency and accountability issues, with an emphasis on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) advocacy and litigation. Prior to joining the Council, Claudia was the Detention Project Director at the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), where she was engaged in representation, advocacy and impact litigation efforts on behalf of individuals in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) custody. Claudia is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law.