USCIS recently announced an update in its guidance regarding the issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs), Form I-862. An NTA is a charging document that is issued to foreign nationals placing them in removal proceedings and directing them to appear before an Immigration Judge. The new USCIS Policy Memorandum entitled: Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens was published on June 28, 2018. This guidance was issued in order to further the President’s current immigration objectives for enhancing public safety. The enforcement branches of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), typically issue NTAs, whereas the primary role of DHS is to adjudicate requests for immigration benefits from foreign nationals. However, this guidance expands the situations in which USCIS can issue an NTA in connection with adjudicating an immigration benefit request.
Under this new policy memorandum, USCIS is generally required to issue an NTA in the following circumstances (provided the individual in question is removable):
- If the applicant poses a risk to national security
- Where NTA issuance is required by statute or regulation (such as when an applicant’s conditional permanent resident status is terminated)
- When there is evidence of fraud, misrepresentation, or abuse of public benefit programs by the applicant
- When an applicant is charged with or convicted of a criminal offense
- When a naturalization application has been denied on good moral character grounds
- Upon the denial of an application, petition, or benefit request if, following that denial, the applicant is not lawfully present in the United States
Once an NTA is issued by USCIS, the recipient will be placed into removal proceedings in Immigration Court. Notwithstanding this, the applicant will still have the opportunity to seek administrative review or file a motion to reopen/reconsider or an appeal with USCIS of an unfavorable decision.
However, on July 30, 2018, USCIS announced that the implementation of this memorandum would be postponed until USCIS was able to issue some operational guidance relating to the memorandum. Therefore, the updated guidance issued in the memorandum and summarized above is not currently in effect as of the date of this posting. USCIS has not yet announced when the memorandum will go into effect.
If you are concerned that you may be issued an NTA based on any of the criteria above or have committed any immigration violations in the past, please contact VERMA Law Firm to speak to an experienced immigration attorney about your case.