USCIS made two announcements in recent weeks that may have a big impact on many immigration cases. Now more than ever, having an experienced immigration attorney at your side is essential.
First, USCIS adjusted its policy for handling application denials, in order to be more in line “with the immigration enforcement priorities of the Department of Homeland Security.” Before, USCIS officers had more discretion in whether to merely deny an application or to deny the application and then give the applicant a Notice to Appear (“NTA”) in immigration court. Now, USCIS officers are expected to “issue an NTA for a wider range of cases,” especially cases that include “evidence of fraud, criminal activity, or where an applicant is denied an immigration benefit and is unlawfully present in the United States.” Consequently, expect more people to be placed into removal (deportation) proceedings. Click here to read USCIS policy.
USCIS also announced changes to how it decides cases. Previously, unless there was “no possibility” of approving a case, USCIS provided applicants at least one more opportunity to submit additional evidence before denying a case. Now, if an application is “incomplete and ineligible,” USCIS can deny that application without providing additional opportunity to respond. Click here to read USCIS policy.
What do these changes mean? USCIS is more equipped to deny applications than before, and to issue NTAs on top of those denials. An imperfect application is now more likely to lead to a denial and probably a court date with an immigration judge.
U.S. immigration law is complex, which is why you need an experienced immigration attorney to guide and advise you through the process. We are those lawyers and our firm practices immigration law exclusively. With offices in Orange, Fresno, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bruno, California, as well as Orem and Salt Lake City, Utah, and Boise, Idaho.
We offer a free in-person consultation at any of our offices in Orange, Fresno, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bruno, California, as well as Orem and Salt Lake City, Utah, and Boise, Idaho.
ABOUT THIS AUTHOR
J.J. Despain is an associate attorney in Salt Lake City for W&O’. He practices employment-based and family-based immigration law. J.J. graduated from Brigham Young University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications with an emphasis in print journalism. He spent two years as an opinions editor, sports editor, and web editor for the campus newspaper, The Daily Universe. J.J. also earned minors in both Spanish and political science. After his undergraduate studies, J.J. attended law school at the University of Iowa College of Law. In Iowa, J.J. was the president of the student chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, a managing editor of the Iowa Law Review, a judicial clerk for the Honorable Stephanie M. Rose of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa and was involved with the Latino Law Students Association and Sports Law Society.
Kelly O’Reilly is a founding partner with Wilner & O’Reilly, APLC, and a former Immigration Officer with Citizenship and Immigration Services in Los Angeles and Orange County. With over 18 years working as an immigration attorney, he is an expert in all facets of Immigration Law and one of the best immigration attorneys serving Orange County and Riverside County. A native of Fresno, California, Mr. O’Reilly received his law degree from the University of La Verne, College of Law and his Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University. A former missionary in Hong Kong, Mr. O’Reilly has a great love of Chinese culture and is conversant in Cantonese.