Quartz reporter David Yanofsky and his lawyers from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of Press have won their lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration and can now access previously paywalled immigration data maintained.
Yanofsky writes, “Three years later, a federal district court judge says I’m entitled to that data—the only near-comprehensive records of people coming to the US—for the same fees afforded any other Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
“Between these two moments, the government missed administrative and court deadlines, and even changed its reason for denying my request. We’ve learned that there are few, if any, buyers of the data I’m seeking, yet staffers of the office who maintain the data say it generates revenue essential to their operation, and that governments officials couldn’t understand why a media company would want it. In that time, three more years of data have also been released, with the most recent year’s priced at $16,770.
“The databases I seek are maintained by The US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA). They don’t just tally US visitors by their origin, but also by age, residency, port of entry, visa type, and initial destination.”
Read more here.