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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

USCIS WANTS TO GET OLD GREEN CARDS OFF THE STREETS

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Various news media outlets like the Miami Herald are reporting that an announcement yesterday by USCIS of a proposed rule to require persons with old green cards lacking expiration dates to replace those cards means that there is some kind of crack down going on to deport wanted criminal criminals. But I really think something less dramatic is going on. A number of years ago, USCIS started issuing green cards with ten year expiration dates. At that time, many people were required to replace old cards. The new cards have more sophisticated security features and are tougher to counterfeit. But for some reason, many of the oldest cards were not included and I have never understood why they were allowed to remain out there. States don't allow drivers licenses to remain unexpired and we would be shocked if passports were issued without expiration dates.



So I can't fault USCIS with finally finishing up this project. There are legitimate public policy reasons why you would want to require old cards to be turned in and replaced periodically. From a national security perspective, the biometric data on the new cards is much more useful to law enforcement than what was available decades ago. And ten years is not an unreasonable period of time for a document to remain valid. Some people mistakenly think that the process to get a replacement card is similar to initially qualifying for a green card, but the I-90 is a very basic application that really asks for simple biographic information. It's pretty tough to mess up an application and definitely is not one requiring an immigration lawyer in most cases.



If I have any complaint, it is that the fee is excessive - $370. That is much more than what is reasonable and given how little adjudication time is required in these cases, it is, to be blunt, a ripoff.



Given that there will likely be a rush when the final rule is published, folks might want to look at filing now to replace their cards. I can already predict that USCIS will not devote adequate resources to handle the demand and processing times will drag out beyond the reasonable. Just look at how good a job the State Department has done with the new passport requirements.

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Comments

  1. Jun's Avatar
    I hope they do this after clearing the backlogs and the frontlogs....

  2. pz's Avatar
    Well, I guess CIS found just another cash cow to milk.
  3. Weshallovercome's Avatar
    And who said USCIS was only milking non-immigrants and wannabe immigrants
  4. Legal Immi's Avatar
    Greg,

    When did USCIS stop issuing such cards , Hope lucky folks who have such cards will get the message. Most of the times once a person gets green card he or she stops following the immigration news until they are ready for naturalization.
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