USCIS – The New Deportation Machine?

by José Enrique Perez

Yes. Starting October 1, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin a Estados Unidos phased implementation of its June 28, 2018 Notice to Appear (NTA) Memorandum, which directs agency adjudicators to initiate removal proceedings against a broader group of foreign nationals.

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.

If applicants are no longer in a period of authorized stay, and do not depart the United States, USCIS may issue an NTA.

Before this memorandum, USCIS did not have this power. In point of fact, any foreign national who made an application before the Trump administration was safe even if the application was denied by the USCIS. This is not the case anymore.

According to the USCIS’s announcement issued last month, USCIS will apply the policy to Form I-485 permanent residence applicants and to Form I-539 applicants to extend or change nonimmigrant status. Employment-based petitions – including H-1B, L-1, E and O petitions – will not be subject to the enforcement policy at this time. Humanitarian application and petitions are allegedly also exempted.

USCIS first announced the NTA policy in July of this year, but deferred implementation while it developed internal guidance.

USCIS is soon expected to provide further information on how the NTA policy will be implemented. It is anticipated that a foreign national whose I-485 or I-539 application is denied and who has no underlying valid immigration status would receive a notice to depart the United States. Those who do not depart timely could be issued a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge, who would determine whether the foreign national should be removed from the United States or is entitled to legal relief that permits him or her to remain.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the new immigration policies. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with the filing of applications with USCIS. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case or potential case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the November edition.