In Immigration Court, the attorneys representing the Dept. of Homeland Security ask questions to determine whether a foreign national deserves asylum. These attorneys are overworked and do not have the time to review applications and all of the supporting documents. As a result, they rely heavily on the notes taken by the Asylum Officer, who is the person who interviewed the applicant on behalf of Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).
Therefore, the notes of the Asylum Officer are an important part of preparing for the Immigration Court hearing.
A settlement agreement was reached in a lawsuit challenging CIS's policy of withholding Asylum Officer interview notes from FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) responses. Under the agreement, CIS must instruct employees involved in processing FOIA requests that asylum officer interview notes generally are to be produced.