Service immigration announced the suspension of a rule imposed during the government of Donald Trump that empowered the agents to reject any request for services that had ‘Blanks’, and in many cases immediately issue a request to appear before an immigration judge at the risk of being deportee from the country.
“For all forms, the criteria for rejection of forms that were applied before October 2019 with respect to blank responses have been returned,” the Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said in a statement.
The agency indicated that in 2019 “it changed the rejection criteria for the following procedures:
They will not reject the paperwork
The USCIS explained that the return to the previous criteria in force until October 2019, “we will not reject the forms I-589, I-612 and I-918 if an applicant leaves blank spaces ”.
The 2019 rule states that in the case of a blank space, the agency will contact the immigrant and let them know the problem so that it can be resolved.
However, the agency cautions that applicants should be aware that “we may reject these forms, or your case may take longer,” if the applicant:
- Leave blank spaces that are required to be completed;
- Does not respond to questions related to filing requirements; or
- Skip any initial evidence required.
For more information about the filing requirements and initial evidence required, the USCIS says that you should “refer to the instructions for each form.”
The August Decision
In early August of last year the USCIS announced that the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy was not only applied at the border to stop immigration undocumented or to persecute those immigrants who are within the country and commit misdemeanors or crimes. It was also implemented in their offices, specifically targeting all the forms used to request benefits.
Lawyers criticized the measure. “In an exaggerated way, they are rejecting more paperwork than before,” said Lilia Velásquez, an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, School of Law. “We do not know why this is due, but a blank space, a box that is not filled or nothing is entered because it simply does not apply to the immigrant requesting a benefit, is enough for the USCIS to reject the request,” he added.
In spaces where previously the criterion was used that, if the question did not apply to the immigrant, the box was left blank, the initials N / A (Not Applicable) had to be put, “because if it did not do so, the file would be returned to him.” Velasquez said.
But the bigger problem was that in many of the cases returned, the files were delayed or appealable, and the loss of time placed the immigrant in deportation proceedings from the United States.
In October 2019, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) had warned that rejections of USCIS forms “due to errors or incomplete data” were increasingly frequent.
The entity began recording rejected cases for later use “in our liaison efforts with the federal agency or to address problematic trends in adjudication processes,” he said.
The USCIS told Univision Noticias at the time that “in accordance with our regulations and form instructions, foreigners requesting an immigration benefit must provide the specific information requested and respond all the questions ”contained in each document.
The lawyers consulted by Univision Noticias agreed that Trump’s policy pointed out that it was one more resource to affect legal immigration within the framework of ‘zero tolerance’.
Since Biden took control of the White House in January, the administration has been implementing a series of measures aimed at reversing zero tolerance, repairing the immigration system at the border, establishing new priorities for deportation and order – or reviewing the system. immigration law to facilitate processes, including speeding up the citizenship process and reversing the previous government’s public charge rule, which made it difficult for non-citizens to become legal permanent residents.