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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, the number of requests processed, and our monthly backlog.  Additionally, please note the number of pages of records released in the current fiscal year:

  • DHS released nearly 35 million pages of records in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018;
  • DHS released more than 140,000 pages through the appeal process; and
  • DHS released more than 300,000 pages through litigation. 
  • DHS received 45,402 FOIA requests in October 2018.
  • DHS processed 41,595 FOIA requests in August 2018.


Last Published Date: December 10, 2018

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