Under a new policy, if U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denies a visa, an extension, or another immigration benefit, the agency will immediately begin deportation proceedings against the foreign national. That means doing it yourself now carries a higher risk of deportation.
USCIS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) all possess the power to issue a Notice to Appear (NTA), which begins the deportation process. An NTA states the grounds for deportation and when and where the individual must appear before an immigration judge.
Prior to this new policy, USCIS focused on processing applications for visas, green cards, asylum, and other immigration benefits. It rarely issued NTAs. Instead, USCIS left that up to ICE and CBP—the agencies tasked with immigration enforcement, including detention and deportation.
Previously, if a visa or other application submitted to USCIS was denied, the foreign national had the option to either depart the U.S. or obtain approval for another visa that would enable her or him to stay or return to the U.S. However, once an individual receives an NTA, she or he must remain in the U.S. and appear before an immigration judge.
Thankfully, USCIS will exempt applications under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) from the new NTA policy.
Because the stakes are dramatically higher now to submit a solid and compelling application that minimizes the risk of a USCIS denial, we recommend consulting an immigration lawyer. The Alcorn Immigration Law team stands ready to help to determine your strongest options and assist you in moving forward.
Notice to Appear
If the person who receives an NTA fails to appear in immigration court, immigration officials will issue a deportation order. When that happens, that person faces a five-year ban on re-entry to the U.S. What’s more, USCIS will be less likely to approve that person for another visa to return.
If the person remains in the U.S. to challenge deportation, she/he is considered unlawfully present when her/his visa expires. It can take years for a legal challenge to make its way through the backlogged immigration court system. But if the individual prevails in immigration court, her/his status will be restored and the unlawful presence expunged. On the other hand, if the individual loses, she/he will be barred from re-entering the U.S. for 10 years or potentially more depending on the situation.
Prioritizing Cases Ends
The new policy reflects an end to prioritizing deportation cases under the Trump administration. USCIS under the Obama administration refrained from issuing NTAs when USCIS had denied an immigration benefit. The reasons:
- USCIS often reversed denials upon reconsideration or appeal.
- Shifting resources from adjudicating applications to enforcement creates longer wait times for visas and green cards.
- It would further slow the already clogged immigration court system.
However, the current administration has taken a different approach. It’s now more crucial that you minimize the risks to your status if you are applying for an immigration benefit.
We Can Help
In the age of increased immigration enforcement under Trump, it’s more important than ever that you, your company, your employees, and your family are in compliance with immigration and nationality laws. The Alcorn Immigration Law team assists individuals, employers, and families to assess options and pursue an immigration strategy that allows them to live and work in the U.S. Contact us.