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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

FOIA is a federal statute that provides that any person has a right to request access to federal agency records. FOIA also establishes a presumption that records in the possession of agencies and departments of the Executive Branch of the U. S. Government are accessible to the people, except to the extent the records are protected from disclosure by any of nine exemptions contained in the law or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.

DHS consistently receives the largest number of FOIA requests of any federal department or agency, receiving almost 40 percent of all requests within the Federal Government. Below you can see the high volume of requests received and the number of requests processed.  Additionally, please note the number of pages of records released in the current fiscal year:

Through August in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, DHS has released:

  • Almost 35 million pages of records;
  • Almost 175,000 pages through the appeal process; and
  • Almost 320,000 pages through litigation. 

In August 2019, DHS:

  • Received 39,141 FOIA requests.
  • Processed 42,715 FOIA requests.


Last Published Date: September 20, 2019

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