Naturalization ceremonies, whether scheduled to occur in the courthouse or at off-site locations, are suspended until further order of this Court. The Court takes this step to comply with the November 15, 2020, Order of Ohio Interim Director of Public Health, Lance D. Himes, limiting gatherings of greater than ten people.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today posted a policy memorandum (PM) that provides guidance to USCIS adjudicators regarding their discretion to deny an application, petition, or request without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) when required initial evidence was not submitted or the evidence of record fails to establish eligibility.
This updated guidance is effective September 11, 2018 and applies to all applications, petitions, and requests, except for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) adjudications, received after that date. Due to preliminary injunctions issued by courts in California and New York, this new PM does not change the RFE and NOID policies and practices that apply to the adjudication of DACA requests.
“For too long, our immigration system has been bogged down with frivolous or meritless claims that slow down processing for everyone, including legitimate petitioners. Through this long overdue policy change, USCIS is restoring full discretion to our immigration officers to deny incomplete and ineligible applications and petitions submitted for immigration benefits,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “Doing so will discourage frivolous filings and skeletal applications used to game the system, ensure our resources are not wasted, and ultimately improve our agency’s ability to efficiently and fairly adjudicate requests for immigration benefits in full accordance with our laws.”
The 2013 PM addressed policies for the issuance of RFEs and NOIDs when the evidence submitted at the time of filing did not establish eligibility. In practice, the 2013 PM limited denials without RFEs or NOIDs to statutory denials by providing that RFEs should be issued unless there was “no possibility” of approval. This “no possibility” policy limited the application of an adjudicator’s discretion.
The policy implemented in this guidance restores to the adjudicator full discretion to deny applications, petitions, and requests without first issuing an RFE or a NOID, when appropriate. This policy is intended to discourage frivolous or substantially incomplete filings used as “placeholder” filings and encourage applicants, petitioners, and requestors to be diligent in collecting and submitting required evidence.
USCIS will continue issuing statutory denials when appropriate without first issuing an RFE or NOID when the applicant, petitioner, or requestor has no legal basis for the benefit/request sought, or submits a request for a benefit or relief under a program that has been terminated.
If all required initial evidence is not submitted with the benefit request, USCIS, in its discretion, may deny the benefit request for failure to establish eligibility based on lack of required initial evidence. Examples of filings that may be denied without sending an RFE or NOID include, but are not limited to:
Waiver applications submitted with little to no supporting evidence; or
Cases where the regulations, the statute, or form instructions require the submission of an official document or other form of evidence establishing eligibility at the time of filing and there is no such submission. For example, an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), if required, was not submitted with an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485).
On January 5, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey entered an order revoking the naturalized U.S. citizenship of Baljinder Singh aka Davinder Singh, and canceling his Certificate of Naturalization.
Singh’s denaturalization is the first arising out of a growing body of cases referred to the Department of Justice by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as part of Operation Janus. The action against Singh was filed contemporaneously with two other Operation Janus cases.
A Department of Homeland Security initiative, Operation Janus, identified about 315,000 cases where some fingerprint data was missing from the centralized digital fingerprint repository. Among those cases, some may have sought to circumvent criminal record and other background checks in the naturalization process. These cases are the result of an ongoing collaboration between the two departments to investigate and seek denaturalization proceedings against those who obtained citizenship unlawfully.
USCIS dedicated a team to review these Operation Janus cases, and the agency has stated its intention to refer approximately an additional 1,600 for prosecution.
Baljinder Singh aka Davinder Singh, 43, a native of India, arrived at San Francisco International Airport on Sept. 25, 1991, without any travel documents or proof of identity. He claimed his name was Davinder Singh. He was placed in exclusion proceedings, but failed to appear for his immigration court hearing and was ordered excluded and deported on Jan. 7, 1992. Four weeks later, on Feb. 6, 1992, he filed an asylum application under the name Baljinder Singh. He claimed to be an Indian who entered the United States without inspection. Singh abandoned that application after he married a U.S. citizen, who filed a visa petition on his behalf. Singh naturalized under the name Baljinder Singh on July 28, 2006. Singh has been residing in Carteret, New Jersey.
Following the judge’s order, Singh’s immigration status reverted from naturalized citizen to lawful permanent resident, rendering him potentially subject to removal proceedings at the Department of Homeland Security’s discretion.
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The Receipt Notice is the first document you receive after you apply or petition U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). Receipt Notices contain information that will help you track the progress of your case. Whenever you hire an attorney to help you with your immigration applications, always bring all USCIS notices with you so he or she can help you better. Receipt Notices are printed on Form I-797, Notice of Action. USCIS prints processing notices on these Notices of Action. These notices include receipt notices, transfer notices, and approval notices. Each looks slightly different.
Notice Type: This tells you what kind of notice this is-receipt notice, transfer notice, approval notice, etc.
Case Type: This states what form this is notice is for. The sample notice is from an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This is a “family-based immigrant visa petition” that a U.S. citizen or legal permanent relative would file asking USCIS to allow his or her family member (here child) to come to the United States permanently.
Receipt Number: The receipt number is very important. With that number you or your attorney can check the status of your case on the USCIS website or by calling the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. Receipt numbers start with a three-letter code followed by numbers.
The first three letters refer to the USCIS service center processing your application:
- EAC – Vermont Service Center (formerly the Eastern Action Center);
- WAC – California Service Center (formerly the Western Action Center);
- LIN – Nebraska Service Center (refers to the center’s location in Lincoln, Nebraska);
- SRC – Texas Service Center (formerly the Southern Regional Center); and
- MSC – National Benefit Center (formerly the Missouri Service Center).
- YSC – Potomac Service Center
The two numbers that follow the three-letter code refer to the fiscal year the application was received. The next three numbers refer to the computer day it was received. The remaining five numbers are randomly generated for your unique application.
Example: MSC-17-026-12345 – This application was filed in 2013 with the National Benefit Center on the 26th computer day.
You can check on what receipt date the service center is working on for your type of case by clicking here. You must know the application form number and the service center.
Priority Date: This is a very important date for many applications. If you are a U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or minor child (under 21), then this date rarely matters for you (only if your child is about to turn 21 would this be important). If you are one of the following, then this date is very important:
- U.S. citizen filing for a child over 21;
- U.S. citizen filing or a sibling;
- Permanent Resident filing for a child or spouse.
The Priority Date refers to your loved one’s spot “in the line.” There are a limited number of visas available each year for each “category” of immigrant. Every month the U.S. government issues a bulletin stating where in the “line” it is processing. To read this, find the preference category on the front of the notice (this will be listed under “Preference Classification” next to the priority date. Then look for your country on the chart to see what the “current” date is that they are issuing visas for. When the date on the chart is later than your Priority Date, you can then apply for the visa so your loved one can come here.
This video is a talk I gave at the Cincinnati Law Library along with the Mexican Consulate about immigration law. This talk illustrates the path from fiancee to green card to naturalization. Key times for the video are as follows:
- Introduction 0:00
- K-1 Visa 07:21
- Adjustment of Status (green card) 18:13
- I-751 Removal of Conditions 22:25
- Naturalization 30:15
- Questions from the audience 37:56
- Mexican Consulate talk 45:15
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