Archive for January, 2013

USCIS Bureacracy for bureaucracy’s sake

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Bureaucracy can mean two things. One meaning is neutral as in, “It requires a large bureaucracy to run something as complex as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).” The other meaning is pejorative, “If it were not for all the bureaucracy, things could get done much cheaper and faster at USCIS.” When bureaucracy is used pejoratively, the usual gripe is that the bureaucratic rules and procedures are not there to streamline functions to make things more efficient, but rather as an end unto themselves. If someone questions: Why do we need to do it this way? The answer is: Because we do.

Forms are an example of bureaucracy imposing rules to streamline processes. In the case of USCIS, before a person can receive a benefit, certain information must be gathered. A person seeking a benefit, like a visa or U.S. citizenship, could write a letter presenting the needed information. An examiner would have to scour the letter for the required information and missing information may not be readily visible and so a lot of time would be consumed. Instead, forms are used to create efficiency which equates to quicker and cheaper. (more…)

Child Status Protection Act litigation heads to the Supreme Court

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

A perennial problem in immigration law is the problem of “aging out.” Aging out is when a child on a waiting list for a benefit stops being a child by virtue of the inevitable – he or she grows up. In immigration law relating to visas, one ceases to be a child at age 21 for most purposes. With wait lists for some benefits decades long, aging out is an inevitability. On August 6, 2002, Congress did something about it by passing the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).

Regrettably, like almost every time  in immigration law, the fix makes everything more complicated. Like the human anatomy transparent pages in the Encyclopedia Britannica some remember from ancient times, it adds another page of complicated overlay to the immigration law story.

One particularly nettlesome section of the CSPA is found at INA § 203(h)(3), regarding retaining a priority date. The section is meant to protect children who age out by allowing them to keep their old priority date when they turn 21. The statute states: (more…)

ICE returns to policy of lengthy detention of asylum seekers.

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

One of the first and one of the best thing s President Obama did when he first became President was to reverse the Bush-administration policy of detaining nearly all arriving-alien asylum seekers until their cases were adjudicated in the immigration court which I discussed here. His administration instead allowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release asylum-seeking aliens after they successfully completed a credible fear interview. As for  arriving aliens with families or who were pregnant, the government would most often parole the aliens into the United States without any detention at all.

The rules for dealing with arriving alien asylum seekers are found at  INA § 235(b). In essence, the statute states that if an alien comes to a port of entry without proper admission documents, that is with no documents, fake documents, or with an actual intent for entry contrary to the purpose of the person’s visa, then the person is ordered removed at the port of entry and then removed in a process called “expedited removal.” The exception is if the alien expresses a desire to seek asylum or expresses fear persecution if removed. In that case, the alien has an interview with an asylum officer who conducts an interview, a credible fear interview. (more…)