A pair of new policy updates within the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is gearing up to make it easier for the feds to deport legal immigrants in the United States.
To understand what’s happening you’ll need to know a couple terms. First, Request for Evidence, it’s also known as an RFE. These are notices sent to immigrants who’ve applied for an immigration benefit.
If you receive one of these letters it’s because the USCIS wants more evidence from you to make sure you are eligible for the immigration benefit you have applied for.
If you received an RFE you could send in the extra evidence and your case would continue.
A policy memo created in 2013 instructed immigration officers to issue RFE’s “when the facts and the law warrant,” but the policy also stated immigration officers should always issue an RFE unless there was “no possibility” that the missing information could be obtained by the applicant.
Essentially it meant most immigration cases that had problems were sent an RFE. This would give the immigrant time to respond.
A Notice of Intent to Deny means exactly what it says, it’s a letter sent to immigrants by the USCIS that essentially states the government is getting ready to deny an application. The notice provides a reason for the proposed denial and applicants then have a chance to respond to the USCIS.
Now that we’ve looked at the old policy, let’s talk about the changes.
One of the major changes to the policy is removing the terms “no possibility”. The USCIS says this will give immigration officers more discretion as to when to send an RFE and Notice of Intent to Deny.
According to the USCIS, the new policy “restores to the adjudicator full discretion to deny applications, petitions, and requests without first issuing an RFE or a Notice of Intent to Deny”. That essentially means, instead of offering applicants a chance to fix the issue, an immigration officer can simply deny the application altogether.
This new policy impacts those applying for both temporary and permanent visas including green cards.
“This policy is intended to discourage frivolous or substantially incomplete filings used as ‘placeholder’ filings and encourage applicants, petitioners, and requestors to be diligent in collecting and submitting required evidence,” the USCIS policy states.
The policy goes on to state it’s not intended to penalize innocent mistakes but the policy does not accurately state how that will be achieved.
How this impacts you
This new USCIS policy makes it more important than ever to ensure your immigration application is correct the moment you send it the USCIS.
Read this quote from the new policy, “If all required initial evidence is not submitted with the benefit request, USCIS in its discretion may deny the benefit request for failure to establish eligibility based on lack of required initial evidence.”
That means a small mistake on your application could mean a denial.
According to an article by CBS news, another policy change, “allows Customs to refer applicants for deportation as soon as their visas are denied. Rejected applicants are also left with no legal immigration status.”
So that one mistake could mean you’re on the fast track to deportation.
In its policy update, the USCIS gave this example for an applicant who could be denied on the spot: if an immigrant fails to include an Affidavit of Support (if required) with their Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, they can be denied.
What they don’t say is that the denial could then lead to the applicant falling out of legal immigrant status and then be referred for deportation.
The new policy does not take effect until September 11, 2018, but if you are considering completing an immigration application it is best to begin as soon as possible.
How FileRight Helps Avoid Mistakes
One of FileRight’s missions is to ensure you submit your immigration application correctly the first time. The software takes applicants step by step through the application to ensure you make no mistakes. FileRight’s computers even check your answers as you go to help avoid any errors that could cost you.
You also have the option to have a licensed immigration attorney review your application. The lawyer review is a detailed seven-point inspection of your immigration application that includes:
- Eligibility to file for immigration benefit sought
- Omissions of key information
- Typographical errors that may delay processing
- Consistent spellings of names and places throughout
- Inconsistent, illogical or conflicting dates
- Entries that conflict with each other
- Illogical entries
The goal is to ensure you receive the immigration benefit you’re applying for.
FileRight offers a variety of immigration applications, the most popular are the citizenship application (Form N-400), green card renewal (Form I-90), and petition a relative (Form I-130). Each application starts with an eligibility quiz that asks a few questions to verify you are eligible to use FileRight for the immigration benefit you’re seeking.