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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

H-1B REQUESTS FOR EVIDENCE HAVE DOUBLED IN THE LAST YEAR

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This is a detail from the June USCIS Ombudsman report I hadn't noticed before, but a BusinessWeek report this week highlights that fact. We immigration lawyers have sensed that this was the case, of course. We regularly warn clients now to simply expect them even if the case is air tight. Businessweek reports


The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service says no crackdown is afoot. 'We haven't changed the way that we do our business over the course of the past few years,' says agency spokesman Christopher Bentley.


Of course, the statistics show otherwise. One very senior former USCIS confided in me that he believes this is less about an anti-immigrant mood at USCIS and more about simple job security. The overall number of applications being filed at the agency is down dramatically due to the recession and issuing requests for evidence is one for examiners to keep themselves busy.


I have no doubt that this is happening. The evidence requests are themselves the best evidence of what should be considered gross malfeasance on the part of USCIS examiners. Applicants routinely get request for documents that were provided already or are clearly irrelevant. In premium processing cases, evidence requests often come on the last day USCIS has to adjudicate the case. Enticing people to pay an extra $1000 to get speedy processing and then deliberately delaying their cases is a form of fraud - perhaps theft - in my opinion. USCIS should be regularly auditing evidence requests and also soliciting feedback from the applicant community so it can crackdown on such illegal behavior.


One simple way to cut down on this kind of behavior is to identify USCIS examiners by name in their decisions. Operating in anonymity only encourages this sort of wrongful conduct. I've heard a senior USCIS official defend anonymous decisions saying that examiners safety might be threatened if they were named. Of course, local USCIS officials operate openly in a variety of immigration cases - marriage petitions, naturalizations, etc. - and there is no evidence of a problem.


I told a USCIS public liaison official that in all my years of practice, I've never seen less professionalism in the way service center officials are doing their jobs. She seemed stunned to hear this and perhaps her reaction was genuine, but if so it's hard to believe how out of touch she was.


Hopefully, the message is starting to get through. The California Service Center has been out of control for some time and only in the last few months has headquarters stepped in, fired the senior staff, sent senior staff from Washington out to California and finally started to address the adjudications probelms.


Here's hoping this is the beginning of a nationwide new trend.

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Comments

  1. George Chell's Avatar
    Most likely they every doubling of tightening they are likely loosing four times the jobs to other countries. Why do you think employment in Asia is going up while in the US at best it remains lackluster? Does one really think that there are that many Asian corporations to create that many jobs in Asia? The answer is no. Mostly Multinationals and outsourcing create jobs, the bulk of it from the multinationals based in the US and UK.
  2. KR's Avatar
    Even the O-1 Visa and the P visa have seen a spate of RFE and rejections, the figures have been more than double, almost triple, its high time the USCIS take strict action against those vigilante Agents who don't adhere to the provided guidelines.
  3. S's Avatar
    I read somewhere that , most of these adjudicators are members of FAIR or CIS.
  4. Matthew Kolken's Avatar
    More "Change" you can believe in.
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