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Posts from the ‘The Vault: FOIA & More’ Category

FOIA data reveals BIA policy of accepting untimely briefs DHS

The Board of Immigration Appeals has a policy of accepting untimely briefs from DHS.

However, it does not appear that the BIA also has a policy of accepting untimely briefs from attorneys representing immigrants.

Please let us know if the BIA has rejected untimely briefs for any of your clients. Your information will remain confidential. You can send an e-mail to

(This data shows the DHS fails to write a brief for roughly 60% of the appeals filed with the BIA. In FY 2017, for example, the BIA issued just under 16,000 decisions, and the DHS filed a total of 5,606 appeals.)



EOIR Director Condoned Immigration Judge V. Stuart Couch Misconduct Against Victims of Domestic Violence

A partial FOIA release today shows that Immigration Judge V. Stuart Couch directly e-mailed EOIR Director James McHenry regarding his overt defiance of the BIA’s order to him to grant or deny asylum to a victim of domestic violence. Director McHenry’s response to Couch?

Thanks. Let me know as soon as you hear from the BIA.

This release is only partial given that EOIR must consult with the main Department of Justice prior to releasing communications made between IJ Couch and individuals in DOJ leadership.

Feds’ secret sauce to identify MS-13 membership revealed

Law enforcement authorities, particularly the Suffolk County Police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, have stonewalled the public on what criteria they use to classify someone as a member of the MS-13 gang.

Look no further: the secret formula is revealed below. (tip: just wear no clothes if one is hispanic and lives in Suffolk County)

“…the defendant has tattoos symbolizing his membership in the MS- 13, including a skull on his left hand and the “three dots” on his left wrist, which, in sum and substance, symbolize the cemetery, prison and hospital, the three places MS-13 members will end up. Still further, at the time of his arrest, the defendant was wearing blue and white clothing, which is another symbol of MS-13 membership…

“MS-13 colors are generally blue and white, sometimes with the number “13”; MS-13 members and associates are not permitted to wear the color red, the color of MS-13’s chief rival, the 18th Street gang. MS-13 members often wear Nike Cortez sneakers, in white or blue, to signify their MS-13 membership.”

“Members also signified their membership through tattoos of devil horns in various places on their bodies. Members and associates sometimes avoided conspicuous MS- 13 tattoos, instead wearing discreet ones such as “503,” spider webs, three dots in a triangle formation signifying “mi Vida loca,” or clown faces with phrases such as “laugh now, cry later.”

“The gang colors of MS- 13 were blue, black, and white, and members often wore clothing, particularly sports jerseys, with the number ” 13,” or with numbers that, when added together, totaled 13, such as “76.”

“As with tattoos, some MS-13 members and associates have selected more discreet ways of dressing in order to signify their membership and at the same time, avoid detection by law enforcement.”

Recap as to how one can be “identified” by law enforcement as a member of MS-13:

  1. Wearing clothing with any combination of blue and white or blue, white, and black.
  2. Wearing clothing or having tattoos that contain the numbers 503.
  3. Wearing Nike Cortez shoes.
  4. Wearing a sports jersey.
  5. Wearing a sports jersey with the number 13 or any combination that adds up to thirteen (see number 10)
  6. Wearing clothing or having tattoos of a spider web.
  7. Wearing clothing or having tattoos with three dots.
  8. Wearing clothing or having tattoos with a clown face.
  9. Wearing clothing or having tattoos with the phrase or something similar to “laugh now, cry later.”
  10. Wearing clothing with any combination of numbers that add up to 13 i.e. 76; 85; 94; 103; 112; 67; 58; 49; 310; 112; 211; 130; and so on.
  11. Wearing clothing or having tattoos that contain horns.
  12. Wearing clothing with a skull or having a tattoo of a skull.

For original sources, see below: