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USCIS Service Centers Are Breaking Our Broken Immigration System. By Roger Algase

Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.

Update, 3:20 pm, April 8

I have spoken with the Texas Service Center and they are looking into the question of my missing NOIR response described below. I am optimistic that this will be resolved, so at least there will be a decision based not only on the NOIR, but on my rebuttal as well.

I want to commend the customer service section at the TSC for its very helpful attitude and its hard work.

The following is my original post.

One of the favorite themes of our punditocracy and political classes of all persuasions and ideologies is talking about America's "broken immigration system". Of course, this means different things to different people.

For pro-immigrant activists, "broken" means, among other things, the over-reliance on deportation as a means of dealing with people from unpopular ethnic groups who are not accepted by the base or most of the leadership of one of our two great political parties.

For immigration opponents, on the other hand, "broken" means that we are not kicking Latino people out of this country fast enough, and that the Mexican border has not yet turned into another Berlin Wall or Korean demilitarized zone.

But what both sides have in common is a belief that only, or at least mainly, Congressional action can "fix" the "broken" system.

But our immigration legal immigration system is also being broken by the very people who are supposed to be administering it. I refer to USCIS officials who are deliberately twisting the meaning of statutes or regulations in order to deny petitions which were obviously meant to be approved, or who are irresponsibly mishandling petitions in order to defeat the goal of fair adjudication.

I will start with an egregious example of the latter perversion of the rules which has been taking place at the USCIS Texas Service Center over the past several months on one of my own cases and is still unresolved as of this writing.

I have previously written about this case, and the following is by way of update.

More than two years ago, a client of mine who is a highly talented and accomplished award-winning jewelry designer with international international recognition and a record of unique achievements in her field, was approved on the basis of her own I-140 self-petition for EB-1 extraordinary ability classification.

The approval was by the TSC, and was based on over 200 pages of evidence initially submitted and submitted in response to an RFE. I was not involved in that case.

However, almost two years later, while she was waiting for her green card to be approved, she received a notice from the TSC that the approved I-140 petition was being reopened and that the TSC intended to revoke the approval.

Usually, revoking an approved petition is done only when there is new information indicating that the initial approval was based on misrepresentation or mistake of facts in the initial petition, but nothing of this sort was alleged in the Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR).

While there had been a fairly recent federal court decision changing the law to some extent in this type of case, this change in the law took place before the initial petition was approved and was specifically mentioned in RFE which the petitioner had responded to successfully.

Therefore, any change in the law based on the above decision could not have been an excuse for reopening this case, and it was not mentioned in the NOIR either.

It was clear that the only reason for reopening the case, was, to paraphrase words attributed to former president Bill Clinton in a somewhat different context, because the TSC "could".

The NOIR, moreover, was replete with blatantly inaccurate statements about the evidence on which the previous approval was based, and also stated that a major award which the designer had won from one of America's oldest and most distinguished women's organizations should not have been recognized because the competition was not open to men.

The NOIR went one to say that none of the other recognition that the designer had received in other competitions should be considered either, because all of these other competitions were allegedly open only to women also. The record showed clearly that this statement was simply not true.

Within the relatively short time allowed by the TSC for a response, I sent in a full rebuttal, pointing out the numerous factual errors in the NOIR and many examples of evidence in the original, approved, submission which the NOIR had overlooked, mischaracterized or simply ignored.

My rebuttal to the NOIR was in two separate sections, each delivered by FedEx on two separate days and signed for by two different TSC intake staff members, but both within the deadline.

I also advised the TSC customer service center of the arrival of my package by email before the deadline and enclosed a copy of one of the response letters I had sent by FedEx.

I received an email back from the TSC stating that the letter I had emailed (on time) would be placed on the file for this case.

This was almost three months ago. Now, incredibly, in response to a Congressional inquiry, the TSC now advises that it has no record of receiving any response from me to the NOIR at all and that the matter is now "with an adjudicator".

I am now waiting for the TSC to try to find my responses which it signed for three months ago to an NOIR which was issued without any justification and which was full of egregious and highly prejudicial mistakes, about an extensive record in this case which the TSC evidently didn't think was worth paying any serious attention to when it issued the NOIR.

To be continued.

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Updated 04-09-2014 at 07:18 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. MKolken's Avatar
    The practice of immigration law has NEVER been as difficult since President Obama's election. It is as if he has purposely done everything in his power to make his administration the least immigrant friendly in history.
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Yes, Obama is fully responsible for these abuses, no matter how much he tries to blame Congress or whomever else he can for his administration's anti-immigrant policies.

    Harry Truman was not a perfect president either. He still remains the only American president in history to drop atomic bombs on innocent civilians.

    But Truman had the courage to say "The buck stops here." On immigration, when have we ever heard such plain talk from Barack Obama?

    Roger Algase
    Updated 04-08-2014 at 11:23 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. Lynn Atherton Bloxham's Avatar
    I would like to think all within the USCIS are working diligently to take care of pending business . Sadly, my studies and from all I have read and heard from reliable sources differs from that futile desire.

    Rather it is evident that procrastination, inefficiency, arbitrary rules which make little sense, indifference to the lives over which they hold control and plain old incompetence are the rule not the exception.

    From commentary on sites such as FAIR, CIS and Numbers USA I do read terribly racist remarks, but the indifference of Obama is difficult to accept also. I think both the Republicans and Democrats have factions which are anti immigration and both parties have people who repeat the incorrect economic fallacy that the immigrants are "taking our jobs" along with other negative stereotypes.

    A change in attitude is the first step speaking out and writing about the situation is of value.
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