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May 18, 2021

Tell the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services About Your Experiences With Their Genealogy Program, especially Price Gouging

The following is part of an email message sent by Reclaim The Records:

RUN AND TELL THAT: USCIS IS ASKING FOR YOUR PUBLIC COMMENTS ABOUT THEIR PRICE GOUGING

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is actually asking people to tell them all about the problems we’ve had with their overpriced “Genealogy Program” for historical records. So let’s tell them! 

Hello again from your friends at Reclaim The Records! Today we have a time-sensitive opportunity for you: a chance to tell a major federal government agency with millions of never-before-online historical records about how and why they can shape up and do better. If speed-kvetching about genealogy is your thing, now’s your chance!

Here’s the super-short version of what’s going on and what you can do right now (like, today), and here’s the super-long comment our organization has formally submitted to make the case for better public records access.

And here’s the much longer backstory. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) holds millions of historical immigration and naturalization records that have never been given over to the United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), even though their own agency’s record retention policies say they were supposed to have been transferred years ago. In this context, “records” means all sorts of historical material: C-Files (Naturalization Certificate Files), AR-2’s (Alien Registration Forms), Visa Files, and more. Any immigrant who arrived in the US on or after July 1, 1924 would be found in at least one of these record sets, and almost all immigrants who came between the late nineteenth century and mid-twentieth century. They’re full of genealogical goodies. Check out these amazing examples!

The full message is much longer and can be found at: https://mailchi.mp/reclaimtherecords/run-and-tell-that-uscis-genealogy-program-public-comments?e=0b398e0a30.

May 18, 2021

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