Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘USCIS Director’

2nd November 2010

It recently came to the attention of this blogger that the Ombudsman for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has made some recommendations regarding the processing procedures associated with the I-601 waiver. To quote directly from a recent Memorandum sent to CIS Ombudsman January Contreras from USCIS Director Alejandro N. Mayorkas:

The CIS Ombudsman recommends that USCIS:

• Centralize processing of all Forms 1-601 to deliver faster and more standardized
adjudication; .

• Provide for concurrent filing of Form 1-601 and Form 1-130, Petition for Alien Relative;

• Prioritize the finalization of its overseas case management system (currently in
development) to provide for accurate statistical reporting of Forms.1-601, allowing for:
(1) posted processing times, and (2) tracking via the “My Case Status” feature on the
USCIS website;

• Publish clear filing instructions to guide customers in need of expedited Form 1-601
processing;

• Improve coordination between DOS consular· officers and USCIS adjudicators who work
with Forms 1-601 at CDJ; and,

• Amend CDJ’s office policy to allow USCIS employees to request digitized Alien Files
(A-files) upon receipt of interview schedules.

Some of these issues have been raised by those with cases pending before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service or a US Embassy or US Consulate overseas. The aforementioned memorandum is quite extensive and those interested in learning further should check out the full memo online. That said, USCIS responded to many of the issues raised by the Ombudsman. For example, the memo noted the following:

1. Centralize processing of all Forms 1-601 to deliver faster and more standardized adjudication.

USCIS Response: USCIS agrees in part.

USCIS is currently evaluating different organizational models for processing Forms 1-601 filed overseas, with the aim of enhancing consistency and efficiency, optimizing use of USCIS resources, and further decreasing processing times for cases that cannot be quickly approved. While centralization is one model that could further these goals; other models, such as bispecialization (i.e.,processing particular forms in two locations only), may have some advantages…

The memorandum went on to reply further:

2. Provide for concurrent filing of Form 1-601 and Form 1-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

USCIS Response: USCIS is considering this recommendation.

In April 2010, USCIS formed a working group under the leadership of the Office of Policy and Strategy to explore concurrent filing and any possible challenges to implementation. Because the change in our process could result in unanticipated complications, it would have to be done in a manner that carefully manages applicant expectations and USCIS resources. The working group is focused on evaluating the feasibility and benefits of the potential process change…

This suggestion could prove interesting in practice as the dynamics of concurrent filing may not be feasible. As the tone of the above citation implies, there may be a great deal of study before such a suggestion could be acted upon. Meanwhile, under the current processing scheme those who need an I-601 waiver outside of the United States must first be deemed inadmissible in a visa adjudication conducted by a Consular Officer at a US Mission, US Embassy, or US Consulate abroad. Therefore, simultaneous application submission as suggested above may not comport with current processing procedures.

3. Prioritize the finalization of its overseas case management system (currently in development) to provide for accurate statistical reporting of Forms 1-601, allowing for: (1) posted processing times, and (2) tracking via the “My Case Status” feature on the USCIS website.

USCIS Response: USCIS agrees.

USCIS is pleased to report that the USCIS overseas case management system, which has been an Agency priority over the course of FY2010, was released for use by all International Operations staff on August 16, 2010.

Hopefully, measures such as those noted above will lead to further streamlining of the overall United States Immigration process.To quote the memorandum further:

4. Publish clear filing instructions to guide Customers in need of expedited Form 1-601 processing.

USCIS Response: USCIS agrees.

USCIS is in the process of updating its International Operations Division’s standard operating guidance on Form 1-601 adjudications to address requests for expedited processing.

Hopefully, new guidance about expedited processing will assist petitioners and beneficiaries in understanding how to go about requesting expedited processing in cases where such service is warranted.

5. Improve coordination between DOS consular officers and USCIS adjudicators who work with Forms 1-601 at CDJ.

USCIS Response: USCIS agrees.

USCIS agrees that DOS consular officers and USCIS adjudicators should maintain close coordination at CDJ and all other overseas posts. All USCIS overseas offices closely collaborate with their DOS colleagues. In CDJ, DOS consular officers and USCIS adjudicators discuss shared concerns every day. The USCIS CDJ Field Office Director and the Immigrant Visa Chief also maintain daily contact…

In many ways, cooperation between officers at different government agencies represents one of the best hopes for an overall streamlining of the visa process. Although, those interested in understanding the I-601 waiver process should note that there are some functions that must be performed by Consular Officers and some that must be performed by USCIS Officers. In any case, effective communication between multiple individuals and agencies is likely to result in more convenience for those seeking an immigration benefit.

6. Amend CDJ’s office policy to allow USCIS employees to request digitized Alien Files (Afiles) upon receipt of interview schedules.

USCIS Response: USCIS agrees in part.

USCIS agrees that A-file records (whether digitized or hard copy) should be requested early in the adjudication process and is evaluating procedures to achieve this goal without significantly delaying the process.

Although digitized records represent further efficiency, it may take time to implement the recommendation noted above.

The process of obtaining a visa or an I-601 waiver of inadmissibility can be difficult to understand for those unaccustomed to the immigration process. In many cases where involving I-601 waivers, individuals or couples sometimes opt to retain the assistance of an American attorney experienced in United States Immigration matters as such individuals are licensed to provide advice and counsel in matters pertaining to US travel documents and waivers of inadmissibility to the USA.

Fore related information please see: US Visa Denial or K1 visa.

more Comments: 04

27th February 2010

US Citizenship is an aspiration for many of those individuals who opt to immigrate to the United States of America. Naturalization is the legal process that foreign nationals undertake when they wish to become a US Citizen. For many the process is somewhat confusing. The naturalization process can also seem daunting as a foreign national must spend a significant amount of time any money in order to naturalize. Recently the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) stated that funds will be made available to assist in integrating foreign nationals into the American polity, the following is a press release from USCIS promulgated by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today the availability of two different
grants designed to help prepare lawful permanent residents (LPRs) for citizenship and advance integration in the United States. This year’s program will make nearly $7 million available for citizenship education in communities across the country.”

This 7 million dollar grant shows a marked increase in funding for this initiative as this program was not as heavily funded in the past. It could be inferred that USCIS is resolved to promote Citizenship education for foreign nationals:

“’Each aspiring citizen represents a personal story of sacrifice and triumph,” said USCIS Director
Alejandro Mayorkas. “This funding will increase opportunities for English language instruction, promote the rights and responsibilities that define our nation, and provide much-needed support for individuals on the path to citizenship.’”

The funding provided in these grants will help facilitate multiple goals. All of these goals are within the context of Immigration to the United States and Naturalization to American Citizenship:


The first grant will strengthen locally-based citizenship preparation programs. The second grant will
increase the capacity of members or affiliates of national, regional, or statewide organizations to offer
citizenship services in underserved communities. USCIS expects to announce an estimated 50 award
recipients in September 2010.

When comparing this initiative to its counterpart in 2009, the difference in funding becomes glaringly obvious:

During fiscal year (FY) 2009, USCIS awarded $1.2 million in grants to 13 immigrant-serving organizations across the country. These awards are currently expanding services and outreach on U.S. citizenship, educational opportunities, and available resources to nearly 70,000 LPRs in 11 states.

That being said, USCIS’s efforts to fully integrate foreign nationals into the tapestry of Americana should be applauded as it marks a positive step. There are many who feel that naturalization makes individuals more engaged in the American way of life and provides recent immigrants with an aim and goal to pursue.

For more information about this and other US Immigration issues please see: Fiance Visa Thailand.

more Comments: 04

13th August 2009

As mentioned in previous posts on this blog, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service  (USCIS) is the relatively new incarnation of the agency formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Currently USCIS is headed by a director who reports to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Since the election of President Barack Obama there have been many new appointments to the upper echelons of the United States Federal bureaucracy. This week has seen the appointment of  a new Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Through their website, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is reporting information on the appointment:

“Director Alejandro Mayorkas was confirmed on August 7, 2009, to lead the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. A hearing to consider his nomination was held on June 24, 2009. On July 28, 2009, the Judiciary Committee ordered the nomination reported to the Senate for consideration.”

We here at Integrity Legal wish to congratulate Mr. Mayorkas on his recent appointment and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors as Director of USCIS. Many proposed changes are in store for USCIS in the coming months and years and Mr. Mayorkas will oversee what will likely be great change within the agency.

Until reading this report, I was unaware that USCIS Director’s even needed Senatorial approval before taking office. Many United States Federal appointments must be confirmed by the United States Senate before the appointee will be allowed to take office. I was aware that this process was common for high ranking American officials like cabinet appointees or Supreme Court Justices, but I was under the misperception that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service was headed by a career federal civil servant and was not a political appointment. That being said, it makes a certain degree of sense to have the holder of this office politically appointed. USCIS is charged with bringing immigration policies into practice on behalf of the administration and as a result USCIS wields a tremendous amount of power with regard to how federal immigration law is practically implemented. Therefore, to keep USCIS policy in line with that of the administration it makes sense to politically appoint the head of that agency.

There are career civil servants who work for USCIS as the agency must remain functional during periods in which a director has yet to be confirmed by the US Senate. Career officers are appointed largely based upon merit and politics likely does not factor into their advancement within the agency.

more Comments: 04

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