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USCIS Expands Policy on Initiating Removal Proceedings


United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new Notice to Appear (NTA) policy memorandum on June 28, 2018, which provides updated guidance on when the USCIS Form I-862, Notice to Appear should be issued. This is to help all USCIS employees in referrals and issuance of NTAs (note that traditionally NTAs were not rendered by USCIS prior to this memo).

Per USCIS, “An NTA is a document that instructs an individual to appear before an immigration judge. This is the first step in starting removal proceedings against them.”

USCIS, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have the authority to issue Form I-826, Notice to Appear which would then be filed in an immigration court after which removal proceedings will be initiated. Which means that the issuance of the NTAs have to fall within the set guidelines of the Department of State’s (DHS) overall immigration and removal policies.

Amongst the various categories that constitute those who are likely to receive an NTA is one that is based on status. Currently, USCIS has expanded its policy to include those who are denied status-impacting applications, like Form I-485 to adjust status or Form I-539 to extend or change status, as of Oct. 1, 2018.

As of Nov. 19, 2018, NTAs may also be issued based on denials of Forms I-914/I-914A, Applications for T Nonimmigrant Status; I-918/I-918 Petitions for U Nonimmigrant Status; I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Violence Against Women Act self-petitions and Special Immigrant Juvenile petitions); Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant; I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petitions; and I-485 Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjustment of Status with these underlying form types.

However, existing guidance will remain in effect for employment-based petitions; the June 28, 2018, NTA Policy Memo will not apply for this category.

According to USCIS:

“USCIS will send denial letters for status-impacting applications, petitions, and benefit requests that ensure benefit seekers are provided adequate notice when their request for a benefit is denied. If applicants, beneficiaries, or self-petitioners are no longer in a period of authorized stay, and do not depart the United States, USCIS may issue an NTA. USCIS will provide details on how individuals can review information regarding their period of authorized stay, check travel compliance, or validate departure from the United States.

If individuals are no longer in a period of authorized stay, and do not depart the United States, USCIS may issue an NTA. USCIS will continue to send denial letters for these benefit requests to ensure adequate notice regarding period of authorized stay, checking travel compliance, or validating departure from the United States.

We will continue to prioritize cases of individuals with criminal records, fraud, or national security concerns and will continue to use our discretion in issuing NTAs on these case types.”

Have you been issued an NTA and need Counsel for Immigration? Call Today.

Call our law firm for a consultation today at: (949) 478-4936.

Immigration law can be complicated and this article does not exhaust all the circumstances surrounding the removal proceedings. These issues can be extremely complex, and a single misstep could potentially lead to a rejection of your application or other immigration penalties, such as deportation. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

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