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USCIS rules give rise to a series of opportune (or unfortunate) events

July has been a very busy month for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services - issuing policy guidance, and memorandum that affect nonimmigrants and immigrants alike.

Crispin ArandaOriginally posted on July 19, 2018; updated July 19, 2018

USCIS rules give rise to a series of opportune (or unfortunate) events


July has been a busy month for the Trump administration’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issuing policy memorandums that affect visa applications, petitions and other request for benefits, including naturalization.

  • July 3. Revoking Obama-issued Policy Guidance Documents. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescission 24 previous policy guidance of the Department of Justice documents issued under former President Obama’s administration). The revocation was attributed to alleged issuance and implementation without legislative or proper rule-making procedures. For the complete list of the rescinded policy guidance, click here - https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-jeff-sessions-rescinds-24-guidance-documents


  • July 7.  Including students who must be issued Notice to Appear before immigration courts upon denial of application or petition

A Notice to Appear before an Immigration Judge is the first step in an immigration proceeding to determine if a nonimmigrant or immigrant should be deported for alleged violation of immigration/visa laws.

The first three instances had been in the system for quite a while, but including students in F, J or M status is seen as part of the Trump administration’s campaign to deport immigrants, some without due process  - https://youtu.be/AoPOc5ZjLWk

The three common instances when the USCIS may issue an NTA are (1) in cases where fraud or misrepresentation” is alleged and substantiated; (2) applicants are charged or convicted of crime/s; (3) naturalization application denied on good moral character groiunds because of a criminal offense.

Read the USCIS policy memo dated June 28, 2018 - https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Laws/Memoranda/2018/2018-06-28-PM-602-0050.1-Guidance-for-Referral-of-Cases-and-Issuance-of-NTA.pdf

  • July 12. Revocation of visa for being arrested on charges of DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or Domestic violence even before conviction. The State Department and the USCIS affirmed this “long-standing policy” in a meeting with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in April 2018.
  • July 13. Expanded authority of USCIS to Deny a Petition or Application without issuing Request for Evidence (RFE) letter or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted a policy memorandum (PDF, 113 KB) for 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.” 

The 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 after that date due to existing court cases on this issue.

For example, an I-130 petition for a spouse, minor child or parent may be refused without informing the petitioner or providing the petitioner to cure the deficiency if the petition as filed “fails to establish eligibility” for the benefit being sought. Read the USCIS announcement https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-updates-policy-guidance-certain-requests-evidence-and-notices-intent-deny

  • July 16. Proposed Increase in Student visa fees.  to Raise Service Fees for F, J, M Nonimmigrants.  In 2017, the U.S. Embassy in Manila issued 11,359 visas for students (F1 academic – 1.015; M-vocational – 55 and exchange visitors – 10,289. The year before the State Department NIV statistics for the Philippines showed 17,061 student and exchange visitor visas issued.  For the month of May 2018, the J1 visas continue to be the most applied for (945) followed by F1, 115 and with only 4 M-1 visas.

Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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