USCIS Replaces Three Trump-Era Burdsonsome Legal Immigration Policies

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on June 9, 2021 reversed or revised burdensome Trump Administration regulatory policies that severely impacted non-immigrant employment visas.

USCIS acted pursuant to President Biden’s February 2, 2021 “Executive Order on Restoring our Faith in our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans.” Effective immediately, three Trump Administration policies have been replaced with new guidance.

Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny

USCIS revoked the July 2018 memo that allowed agency officers to deny immigration benefits without notice or reason. This memo and policy resulted in extraordinarily high petition rejection rates. The June 9 Policy Memo in part reinstates the June 2013 policy that required agency officers to first issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) if additional information could demonstrate eligibility for an immigration benefit.

The agency noted that “[T]his updated policy will ensure that benefit requestors are given an opportunity to correct innocent mistakes and unintentional omissions.”

Employment Authorization Documents

Revised USCIS policy will increase the current one-year validity period on initial and renewal EADs to two years for certain adjustment of status applicants.

Expedited Processing

USCIS updated the policy for when expedited processing may be appropriate and provided additional criteria to the petitioner and the agency officer. Criteria includes, but is not limited to, “severe financial loss to a company or person” or urgent humanitarian need. Petitions are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.

The USCIS Policy Manual has been updated to include the new criteria, and the USCIS Public Affairs Office provides details about and background for the policy changes, “USCIS Updates Policies to Improve Immigration Services.”

TechServe Alliance welcomes these changes and asks members to contact us with their experiences, positive or negative, as these policies take effect.

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