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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

WHOSE DUMB IDEA WAS THIS?

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I'm sure most USCIS examiners try and do their best to make quality decisions. But ask an honest, experienced examiner and they'll admit that as the agency has expanded and rapidly brought on more and more examiners, the lack of experience is showing.



So instead of focusing on improving the quality of decision making, the folks at USCIS headquarters have come up with the bright idea of giving examiners even MORE power. USCIS examiners will now be able to deny cases without giving applicants an opportunity to respond to a notice of intent to deny and they will also be able to determine how much time applicants have to respond to a request for evidence. Today, there is a standard 120 days permitted to respond. The memorandum simply says the examiner is to decide whether the evidence is easy to obtain or difficult and set the response time for the request for evidence accordingly.



For those of us who practice immigration law, this is a recipe for disaster. Examiners can make assumptions on how long is reasonable to respond, but they may be completely off base. And there are no provisions for an extension of a request for evidence. The evidence requested is often completely irrelevant to eligibility anyway. Bad examiners will now will be even more likely to issue bad decisions.

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