The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has announced that effective October 1, 2017, applicants for “adjustment of status” (the last step in the “green card” process) based on employment sponsorship and for refugee/asylee relatives will be interviewed in all cases.
While it is standard procedure to interview applicants for adjustment of status based on marriage and certain other family-based petitions, for many years USCIS has waived the in-person interview for employment-based applicants and other family-based applicants unless fraud is suspected.
The government points to implementation of Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” as the reason for the change. However, it cites no statistics or information to explain why either employment-based applicants or relatives of refugees or asylees are a particular source of concern regarding national security. In fact, the failure to focus efforts on suspected fraud may delay discovery of any real problems.
In almost all cases, those immigrating through the sponsorship of an employer in the United States have been here for many years and are subject to constant scrutiny when applying for temporary work or study visas. Despite some rhetoric to the contrary, granting someone refugee status to come to the U.S. is the original “extreme vetting” process, and those granted asylum are similarly scrutinized.
Together, both of these application types make up only a small portion of the total immigration to the U.S. each year. However, we can only conclude that with the addition of these mandatory interviews and the lack of increased USCIS staffing, the immigration process for those physically present in the U.S. will slow. We cannot predict at this time how any person’s case will be specifically affected.
If it were not for the added wait involved, we would be pleased for anyone to interview our clients and see the many and varied ways you are benefitting the United States. As interviews are scheduled, Davis Brown attorneys and staff will help prepare you for the interview and arrange representation as required.
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