Genealogists often seek records from the federal government. It seems humorous, but many of these requests currently go to the Department of Homeland Security. Technically, the requests in question are routed to one agency within the Department, the office of "U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services" or USCIS.
USCIS processes requests for historical records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)/Privacy Act (PA) program. In order to obtain information about more recent ancestors' immigration and citizenship records, the only method today is to file a request under the Freedom of Information Act. (NOTE: This does not apply to nineteenth and early twentieth century records, only to more recent documents.)
The present process is slow for the genealogists and expensive to the taxpayers. The agency has received an average of 10,000 combined search and records requests per year over the last 4 years. The backlog is increasing. Now the office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has proposed changing the procedure to simplify the process, speeding up the response to inquiries and reducing taxpayers' expenses.
The new proposal would establish a Genealogy Program within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to process requests for historical records of deceased individuals.
Removing genealogy research from the huge and growing volume of requests under the Freedom of Information Act should improve service to historical researchers, genealogists, and other members of the public.
You can read the full text of the proposal here.
My thanks to Joy Rich for letting me know about the new proposal.