What do you do if immigrants find out how to navigate the most recent booby trap you’ve set for them?
If you’re the Trump administration, you set that trap for someone else those immigrants need to count on– such as law enforcement or medical personnel, who send proof for certain visa applications.
Last fall, U.S. Citizenship and Migration Provider introduced possibly its most arbitrary, absurd modification yet to the migration system: It began turning down applications unless every field was filled out, even those that certainly did not pertain to the candidate.
” Middle name” field left blank since the applicant does not have a middle name? Sorry, your application gets turned down. No apartment number since you live in a home? You’re declined, too.
No address given for your moms and dads since they’re dead? No siblings called since you’re an only child? No work history dates since you’re an 8-year-old kid?
All genuine cases, all declined.
President Trump’s “wall” has actually been developed not of steel or concrete however of documents and red tape This no-blanks policy was simply the current bureaucratic change made without approval from Congress nor the (legally needed) formal rulemaking procedure.
Asked how this persnickety processing change serves the public interest, a USCIS spokesperson emailed, “Total applications are needed for our adjudicators to protect the stability of our immigration system and guarantee they have the ability to validate identities, along with a candidate’s immigration and criminal history, to identify the applicant’s eligibility.”
Seems most likely it has to do with avoiding qualified immigrants from getting visas.
” It’s death by a thousand paper cuts,” says Cecelia Friedman Levin, senior policy counsel at Asista, a nonprofit that represents immigrant survivors of violence.
After an initial flood of complicated rejection letters, immigration lawyers wised up. Legal representatives invested additional hours combing through every field, diligently typing “N/A” or “none” in all blanks even when doing so seemed unneeded.
In particular fields, it’s not possible to digitally key in the magic words “none” or “N/A,” because USCIS coded the PDF to permit entries of numbers only. So, lawyers began handwriting “N/A” across types. Some scrounged up typewriters. Others special-ordered “N/A” rubber stamps.
All this busywork took up a tremendous amount of time. But at least candidates had a way to jump through this hoop.
So USCIS adjusted– by needing unsuspecting 3rd parties to clear the exact same obstacle.
In late June, new small print appeared on USCIS’s website It said the no-blanks policy would reach at least one file that should be completed by law enforcement authorities– someone over whom immigrants and their attorneys had no control. These officials need to complete and sign a kind licensing that immigrants looking for the crime-victim (U) visa are helping with an examination or prosecution.
Migration lawyers state that even when they have good relationships with police, completing these accreditations can require months of nudging, cajoling and pleading.
” In some cases the cops department resembles five people,” stated Josh Doherty, an attorney at the nonprofit Ayuda “Not surprisingly, if you are an agency of 5 individuals, and you are accountable for public security and traffic enforcement, and all these other different things, you may miss an e-mail or letter.”
Now, attorneys must convince these law enforcement agencies to please, please, please, redo all the kinds they currently signed, and submit “N/A” everywhere possible, no matter how unjustified it seems.
” These are officers who have in some cases already gone above and beyond to recertify the case during covid, and now we have to trouble them once again to request these cosmetic modifications,” says Safiya N. Morgan, senior staff attorney at the New York Legal Support Group
Separately, in recent months, a minimum of two other attorneys have actually gotten rejections from USCIS for blanks on other forms submitted by 3rd parties– in both cases, a medical exam report required for green card applications. That document is signed by a USCIS-certified doctor and submitted to the agency in a sealed envelope. Immigrants are not allowed to even view the completed form to make certain the physician left absolutely nothing blank.
Unlike with the police certifications, USCIS has not openly validated whether it is systemically applying its no-blanks policy to medical types, or if those rejections were perhaps the action of a rogue official. Signals on USCIS’s website flag the no-blanks policy just for asylum, crime-victim and trafficking-victim visas, in spite of rejections legal representatives have gotten for blanks on other types of applications. The firm did not respond to concerns about how or when it was choosing to enforce the policy.
This Kafkaesque processing modification isn’t merely vindictive. It’s a big waste of resources, for the individuals completing the forms and those processing them. In truth, USCIS is going broke partially due to the fact that it’s investing many more person-hours searching for reasons to reject eligible immigrants.
However hey, ruthlessness and monetary mismanagement? That’s practically the Trump brand
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