A new policy that began this month makes it easier for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to deny visas and other immigration benefits. USCIS is no longer required to request more evidence that could complete an application or notify the applicant that it intends to deny the application.
This policy overturns a 2013 policy that limited the ability of USCIS to deny an application without giving the applicant or petitioner a chance to respond. The 2013 policy required USCIS adjudicators to issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) if evidence was missing or failed to offer proof. The only time adjudicators would not be required to issue an RFE would be if “no possibility” exists that additional evidence would change the outcome. It also required USCIS adjudicators to issue a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) if denying certain immigration benefits or if they uncovered damaging information. A NOID usually explains the reasons for the denial and when it will go into effect. That gives individuals the opportunity to take steps to overturn the denial decision.
Now, USCIS adjudicators can use their discretion whether to issue RFEs or NOIDs. Moreover, USCIS can deny visas and green cards without specifying what additional information or evidence would complete the application.
Building an Invisible Wall
The new policy is the latest effort to build an invisible wall by curbing and slowing legal immigration. It follows on the heels of another policy in which USCIS will immediately begin deportation proceedings for a foreign national if the agency denies a visa, extension or another immigration benefit.
USCIS is exempting renewal applications under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) from both policies. Asylum- and refugee-related filings are also exempt from the new policy.
USCIS states that the latest policy “is not intended to penalize filers for innocent mistakes or misunderstandings of evidentiary requirements.” Rather, it seeks to “encourage applicants, petitioners, and requestors to be diligent in collecting and submitting required evidence.”
With the stakes dramatically higher to submit an indisputable application the first time, we recommend consulting an immigration lawyer. The Alcorn Immigration Law team stands ready to help you determine your strongest options and assist you in moving forward.
Employers and individuals who receive a filing denial should weigh the consequences of submitting another application and paying additional fees. Employers face losing employees. Individuals face removal proceedings, lost jobs and travel options, and losing their place in the severely backlogged green card queue.
We Can Help
The Alcorn Immigration Law team believes immigration yields innovation. We closely monitor immigration policy changes that impact companies, entrepreneurs, professionals, and families. We can help you, your company, your employees, and your family. Contact us.