On October 1, 2018, USCIS Policy Memorandum 602-0050.1 will go into effect expanding the conditions under which USCIS issues a Notice to Appear (NTA), the document that initiates removal (deportation) proceedings, to include situations where:
“Upon issuance of an unfavorable decision on an application, petition, or benefit request, the alien is not lawfully present in the United States.”
The expansion of NTA policy severely limits the option to self-deport and could be ruinous for visa applicants by putting them in jeopardy of becoming criminals and being barred from the United States should they become out of status upon denial without warning.
This is particularly alarming since Requests for Evidence are now issued at the adjudicator’s discretion, giving USCIS officers the ability to outright deny a visa or green card application, petition or request (extensions).
We may see a drastic increase in flat-out denials (including for extensions) even in cases that would ultimately be approved given the chance to rectify concerns or submit additional evidence.
Adjudicators have effectively been given almost full discretion to make complex judgments without clear standards or proper oversight to safeguard against unequal treatment.
The introduction of more stringent H-1B standards, the recent policy (effective Sept. 11, 2018,) granting USCIS officers the ability to deny a visa or green card application, petition or request (extensions) without issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE,) and the NTA policy add an undue pressure on the high-skill immigrant workforce.
Collectively, these changes could prove to have a devastating impact on bona fide prospective immigrants and aliens.
Note: Guidance for employment-based petitions and humanitarian applications and petitions case types will not be implemented according to the June 28th NTA memo.
USCIS is holding a public teleconference on Thursday, September 27, 2018, from 2–3 p.m. Eastern to provide an overview of the memo at this time.