Privacy Act, Tecs, And Obim: USCIS FOIA Processing Guide


US-CIS recently released 103 pages of its March 11, 2020 Training of its FOIA processors, concerning the Privacy Act, TECS, and OBIM. They are posted on the “FOIA” page of the Louise Trauma Center, and are labeled “Privacy, TECS, & OBIM training 3-11-20.”

Some excerpts:

The Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. section 552a, applies to U.S. citizens and to Legal Permanent Residents. [[Page 8 of 103]. These people can get records about themselves and amend a record if inaccurate or incomplete. [Page 9 of 103]

There are many exemptions. One is (d)(5), which is similar to, but narrower than, FOIA Exemption (b)(5). [Page 15 of 103]

Privacy Act Exemption (j)(2) protects information concerning “the enforcement of criminal laws.” [Page 19 of 103]

Exemption (k)(2) protects “investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes.” [[Page 20 of 103]

A Notice of Intent to Deny takes away nothing. [Page 25 of 103]

Treasury Enforcement Communication system (TECS)

TECS II became operational at the New Orleans Airport port of entry in October 1987. {Page 32 of 103]

TECS contains information from federal, state, and local sources. It pertains to known violators, wanted persons, and lookouts. [Page 33 of 103]

TECS Record ID Appendix Example [Page 38 of 103]

TECS II- Person Subject Display [page 42 of 103]

General CBP Rules [Page 44 of 103]

TECS II Person Query [Page 48 of 103]

TECS II Incident Log Remarks [Page 55 of 103]

IBIS Visa/CIS Query [Page 61 of 103]

TECS II Address Query [Page 77 of 103]


The United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program

(US-VISIT) verifies “the identifies and travel documents of aliens.” [Page 85 of 103)

The Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM), created in 2013, replaced US-VISIT. [Page 85 of 103)

The Arrival and Departure Information System (ADIS) contains biographic information and biometric indicators. [Page 85 of 103]

Form G-1221: a verification worksheet [Page 89 of 103]

Things We Should Release: includes “Person of Interest” and “Recidivist.” [Page 100 of 103]

About The Author

David L. Cleveland, a lawyer in Washington, DC, is at

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