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A resposne to the USCIS Union regarding the Senate CIR bill

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In a letter to lawmakers published earlier this week by the NY Times, the Union representing
USCIS officers and examiners announced their opposition to the Senate
Immigration bill. I read the letter and seriously laughed out loud and then I
shed a little tear (not really as I am not in the least bit emotionally in
touch with myself). The letter derides illegal aliens, USCIS Headquarter
policies, orders received from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland
Security, President Obama's executive orders, Federal regulations properly
enacted under the APA and the current Immigration and Nationality Act. They
also take shots at immigration lawyers for representing illegal aliens but, hey
lawyers are fair game !


The part of the letter where they complained about being pressured to issue
approvals and not having an opportunity to question petitions is particularly
laughable to readers of this blog in the IT and healthcare staffing field. The
scrutiny which H-1b and L-1 petitions face today is unlike anything in the past
25 years. The denial rates have soared with absolutely no change in the law.
The RFE's being issued are filled with boilerplate and often appear as if they
have been issued without even a cursory reading of the record. In the last week
alone, I have received an RFE challenging whether or not a physical therapist
requires a college degree and another one that questioned whether a US Master's
degree in Computer Engineering was relevant to a Software Engineering position.
We routinely see the USCIS questioning extensions for petitions which have been
approved several times in the past with identical facts and law. If there is
indeed a culture of approval, my clients are not enjoying it. In fact, the
immigration bar has labeled the current culture as a "culture of No".


It is often difficult for many of us to accept that we are subject to a
higher authority and we often feel the need to rebel. We see it in the terrible
2?s and 3?s and we see it in petulant teenagers and now we see it expressed by
the USCIS examiners and officers The legal role of administrative adjudicators
is to apply the rules properly and fairly. In the context of immigration
petitions, the job of the examiner is to approve petitions which meet the legal
regulatory standards and are supported by a preponderance of the evidence.
Period, end of story. Instead, today we have countless examples of USCIS
examiners and officers at the Service Centers and certain Consulates applying a
different set of standards than those contained in the law and often, we
experience an utter and inexplicable refusal to acknowledge uncontroverted
facts. The complaints listed in this letter are simply further evidence of this
rebellion. The examiners and officers do not like the authority imposed over
them so they unilaterally impose their own view of how things ought to be when
they adjudicate petitions. Until we get a new set of laws, I'd simply like to
see the current laws followed. Don't let politics and your own beliefs
influence your adjudication of petitions. If you can't accept that role, try
for a transfer to the IRS where it seems like that type of behavior is
acceptable.


This post originally appeared on the Hammond Law Group Views blog


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