US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that beginning October 1, 2018, it will begin implementing a June 28, 2018 policy memorandum intended to effectuate President Trump’s immigration policies.
On January 25, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13768, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, detailing his Administration’s policy to enhance the enforcement of United States’ immigration laws. Former Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly then issued an implementation memorandum providing guidance to the Department of Homeland Security regarding Executive Order. Pursuant to that Executive Order and implementation memorandum, USCIS updated its policy related to the issuance of Notices to Appear, the document that initiates removal proceedings against immigrants in immigration courts, by employees of USCIS.
The policy memorandum now generally directs USCIS employees adjudicating applications for immigration benefits to issue Notices to Appear in the following types of cases:
- Cases “where, upon issuance of an unfavorable decision on an application, petition, or benefit request,” USCIS determines “the alien is not lawfully present in the United States.” This directive marks the most significant change in USCIS policy, which previously provided more discretion to USCIS employees and prioritized certain types of cases.
- Cases in which USCIS can substantiate some fraud or misrepresentation by the applicant, including cases in which an applicant is believed to have abused a public benefits program.
- Cases in which an applicant has been convicted of or charged with a criminal offense.
- Cases in which USCIS denies an application for naturalization on the grounds of lack of “good moral character” because of a criminal offense.
The policy memorandum does not revise previous policy regarding issuance of Notices to Appear in several other types of cases.