USCIS Updates Policy Guidance for Certain Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny

USCIS Updates Policy Guidance for Certain Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today posted a policy memorandum (PDF, 113 KB) (PM) that provides guidance to USCIS adjudicators regarding their discretion to deny an application, petition, or request without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) when required initial evidence was not submitted or the evidence of record fails to establish eligibility. This updated guidance is effective September 11, 2018 and applies to all applications, petitions, and requests, except for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) adjudications, received aer that date. Due to preliminary injunctions issued by courts in California and New York, this new PM does not change the RFE and NOID policies and practices that apply to the adjudication of DACA requests. “For too long, our immigration system has been bogged down with frivolous or meritless claims that slow down processing for everyone, including legitimate petitioners. Through this long overdue policy change, USCIS is restoring full discretion to our immigration officers to deny incomplete and ineligible applications and petitions submitted for immigration benefits,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “Doing so will discourage frivolous filings and skeletal applications used to game the system, ensure our resources are not wasted, and ultimately improve our agency’s ability to efficiently and fairly adjudicate requests for immigration benefits in full accordance with our laws.” The 2013 PM addressed policies for the issuance of RFEs and NOIDs when the evidence submitted at the time of filing did not establish eligibility. In practice, the 2013 PM limited denials without RFEs or NOIDs to statutory denials by providing that RFEs should be issued unless there was “no possibility” of approval. This “no possibility” policy limited the application of an adjudicator’s discretion. The policy implemented in this guidance restores to the adjudicator full discretion to deny applications, petitions, and requests without first issuing an RFE or a NOID, when appropriate. 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.

USCIS will continue issuing statutory denials when appropriate without first issuing an RFE or NOID when the applicant, petitioner, or requestor has no legal basis for the benefit/request sought, or submits a request for a benefit or relief under a program that has been terminated. 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. Examples of filings that may be denied without sending an RFE or NOID include, but are not limited to:    Waiver applications submitted with little to no supporting evidence; or Cases where the regulations, the statute, or form instructions require the submission of an official document or other form of evidence establishing eligibility at the time of filing and there is no such submission. For example, an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), if required, was not submitted with an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485). This PM updates Chapters 10.5(a) and 10.5(b) of the USCIS Adjudicator’s Field Manual and contains an “additional considerations” section. The policy in this “additional considerations” section is not new, and AILA Doc. No. 18071380. (Posted 7/13/18) 7/13/2018 USCIS Updates Policy Guidance for Certain Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny | USCIS https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-updates-policy-guidance-certain-requests-evidence-and-notices-intent-deny 2/2 is nearly identical to the policy contained in the superseded 2013 PM. For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), and Facebook (/uscis). Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/13/2018

Poll: Where You Watch TV News Predicts Your Feelings On Immigration

On some questions, people who get their TV news primarily from Fox News or CNN are even further apart than Republicans and Democrats, with viewers of the other big TV networks somewhere in between.

"People who get their news from Fox News actually take the strongest anti-immigrant position of any group we looked at in this survey," Jackson said.

 

Judge dismisses most of Trump administration lawsuit over California immigration laws

A federal judge on Monday dismissed most of the Trump administration's lawsuit seeking to knock down a series of California immigration laws, delivering a major blow to the Justice Department's efforts to crack down on so-called sanctuary states.

U.S. District Judge John Mendez tossed out the part of the lawsuit seeking to invalidate Senate Bill 54, which limits cooperation between local and state law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement. He also dismissed an effort to block another law — Assembly Bill 103 — which allows the California attorney general to review and report on immigrant detention facilities.

Mendez also tossed out part of the lawsuit against Assembly Bill 405, which sought to limit private employers' cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.

Mendez's dismissals mean that California will be able to continue limiting its cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.

In dismissing the Justice Department's case against the two laws, Mendez rejected the Trump administration's argument that only the federal government has the final say on immigration enforcement and regulation under the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause.

"[T]he Court does not find any indication in the cited federal statutes that Congress intended for States to have no oversight over detention facilities operating within their borders," Mendez wrote.

The dismissals came days after Mendez rejected the Trump administration's request for a preliminary injunction to block the laws while the case played out in court. 

The Justice Department first brought the lawsuit against California in March, arguing that the sanctuary laws effectively hindered federal efforts to enforce immigration policies.

But Mendez rejected that argument, writing in his rejection of the Trump administration's injunction request last week that "refusing to help is not the same as impeding."

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, whose office is charged with defending the state against the lawsuit, celebrated the dismissals on Monday, saying that it upheld California's right to determine how best to protect its residents' privacy and security. 

"Today's decision is a victory for our State's ability to safeguard the privacy, safety, and constitutional rights of all of our people," he said in a statement. "Though the Trump Administration may continue to attack a state like California and its ability to make its own laws, we will continue to protect our constitutional authority to protect our residents and the rule of law."

A spokesperson for the Justice Department did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.

http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/396210-judge-dismisses-most-of-trump-administration-lawsuit-over-california

Us Immigration what is Ice and why is it controversial?

What is Ice?

Ice was created in 2003 when the Bush administration reorganized a number of federal agencies in response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, and placed them under the brand new Department of Homeland Security. Ice, which now employs over 20,000 people, is one of three agencies that absorbed and assumed the functions of the now defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service and the United States Customs Service.

Ice is not the agency conducting family separations at the US border. Ice is not responsible for patrolling or securing US borders; that task falls to the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP). It is CBP agents who have been charged with enforcing the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, detaining migrants and asylum seekers at the border and initiating the separation of undocumented families.

Instead, Ice is primarily tasked with what it calls Enforcement and Removal Operations: essentially the location, detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants who have already successfully crossed the border and are living in the US. Under President Barack Obama, the unit prioritized removing those undocumented immigrants who had committed serious crimes, but the Trump administration has broadened its mandate to target anyone in the US illegally

Travel Ban Approved

...The President then called the ruling "a tremendous victory for the American People and the Constitution" and said he felt vindicated.

"This ruling is also a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country," Trump said.

This is the third version of the travel ban. It was issued in September -- after previous bans had ricocheted through the courts -- and restricts entry from seven countries to varying degrees: Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Venezuela. Chad was originally on the list but it was recently removed after having met baseline security requirements.

Challengers, including the state of Hawaii, argued that the travel ban exceeded the President's authority under immigration law as well as the Constitution. They also used Trump's statements during the campaign, when he called for a ban on travel from all Muslim-majority countries, but Roberts dismissed those concerns.

"Plaintiffs argue that this President's words strike at fundamental standards of respect and tolerance, in violation of our constitutional tradition," Roberts wrote. "But the issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements. It is instead the significance of those statements in reviewing a Presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility. In doing so, we must consider not only the statements of a particular President, but also the authority of the Presidency itself."

Stephen Vladeck, CNN's Supreme Court analyst and a law professor at the University of Texas School of Law, called the ruling a "big win" for the White House.

"The Supreme Court has reaffirmed the President's sweeping statutory authority when it comes to deciding who may and who may not travel to the United States, authority that both President Trump and future presidents will surely rely upon to justify more aggressive immigration restrictions," Vladeck said.

However, Vladeck noted that this was the third version of the travel ban and the administration made significant changes in response to lower-court rulings invalidating the first two iterations, including one issued one week after Trump became president in January 2017.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/26/politics/travel-ban-supreme-court/index.html

Administration drops asylum protections...

Fairfax County, Virginia (CNN)The Trump administration Monday overturned asylum protections for domestic violence and gang violence victims in a ruling that could potentially prevent tens of thousands of immigrants from getting protection in the US. 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision sets a high bar for victims of crime to qualify for asylum protections. Not only must the government of the home country be unable or unwilling to help the victims, but "the applicant must show that the government condoned the private actions or demonstrated an inability to protect the victims."

The ruling is the latest instance of Sessions taking full advantage of his authority over the immigration courts -- a separate court system designed by law to be under the auspices of the Justice Department. The attorney general functions as a one-person Supreme Court in the system, in addition to hiring and evaluating the lower court judges themselves.

For more go to...

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/06/11/politics/jeff-sessions-asylum-decision/index.html

H-2B Cap

On May 31, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began receiving H-2B petitions under the temporary final rule increasing the numerical limit, or cap, on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 15,000 additional visas through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2018.

In the first five business days of filing, USCIS received petitions for more beneficiaries than the number of H-2B visas available under the FY 2018 supplemental cap. Accordingly, regulations required USCIS to use a computer-generated selection process, commonly known as a lottery, to randomly select enough petitions to meet, but not exceed, the increased H-2B cap for FY 2018. USCIS ran this lottery on June 7, 2018, and on June 11, 2018, began issuing notifications to the petitioners that were selected.  

USCIS will reject and return unselected petitions with their filing fees, as well as any cap-subject petitions received after June 6, 2018.

Petitions accepted for processing will have a receipt date of June 11, 2018. Premium processing service for these petitions begins on that receipt date.

Only employers whose petitions were accepted will receive receipt notices.

A petition may be denied if USCIS discovers, after a petition has been filed, that an original approved temporary labor certification (TLC) was not submitted with the petition in accordance with the Form I-129 instructions, or if a petitioner requests more workers than were certified on the TLC. USCIS will not refund fees for a petition that has been denied.

USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from, or not counted towards, the cap. These include petitions for:

  • Current H-2B workers in the United States seeking to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;
  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
  • Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam, until Dec. 31, 2019.

U.S. businesses use the H-2B program to employ foreign workers for temporary nonagricultural jobs. Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (Oct. 1 – March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – Sept. 30).

The 15,000 additional visas for FY 2018 are available only to American businesses which, among other requirements, attest that they will likely suffer irreparable harm without the ability to employ all the H-2B workers requested in their petition.

Additional information is available at Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants.

TN VISAS

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.

Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN nonimmigrants are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. You may be eligible for TN nonimmigrant status, if:

  • You are a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
  • Your profession qualifies under the regulations;
  • The position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;
  • You have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer (but not self-employment - see documentation required below); and
  • You have the qualifications to practice in the profession in question.