Earlier this year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a policy memorandum containing new guidance on the issuance of notices to appear (NTAs) for immigrants who are potentially inadmissible or subject to deportation. On July 30, 2018, however, USCIS announced that it had delayed implementation of the new guidance, citing the pending nature of the accompanying operational guidance, until further notice.
NTAs are charging documents that place individuals in removal proceedings. Historically, USCIS has been responsible for issuing only about 12% of NTAs. USCIS has not traditionally had the responsibility of initiating most removal proceedings in immigration court. Typically, if USCIS denies an application or petition, they advise the individual to voluntarily depart from the U.S. In most cases, the individuals voluntarily depart.
Under the new policy guidance, USCIS must issue NTAs whenever individuals are “not lawfully present” and their applications or petitions are denied. This means that USCIS will issue hundreds of thousands of NTAs per year and involve individuals in immigration court proceedings. Not only will this policy change add to the already-backlogged immigration court caseload, but it will delay the ability of these individuals to take any further action for months, if not years, particularly if they are detained as a result of the NTAs.
USCIS claims that its policy changes will better align with the priorities of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is to remove all individuals from the U.S. whom they consider to be removable. However, USCIS now will issue NTAs in the following situations:
· Individuals who are removable and there is evidence of fraud, misrepresentation, or abuse of public benefits programs.
· Individual who are charged, but not convicted of, a crime.
· Individuals whose naturalization applications have been denied on the basis of a lack of good moral character due to a criminal conviction.
The revised policy guidance greatly expands the potential pool of individuals who now will receive NTAs immediately after USCIS denies their applications or petitions, even if the denial is in error.
As the federal government crackdown on immigration continues, many immigrants and their families continue to face immigration court proceedings and other immigration-related issues. The immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking any type of legal immigration status, regardless of your situation. We will determine the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options, and help you decide the best course of action for your case. It is our intention to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you and your family through this difficult situation.