USCIS is making it easier to deport people for even minor errors

USCIS announced two new policy changes that will make it easier for non-citizens to be deported.

While immigration has been a hot topic in the news lately, many procedural changes occurring to the country's immigration system are still flying under the radar. While these changes often appear minor on the surface, they have the ability to dramatically impact the lives of both people who have long lived in the United States and others who wish to come here.

A case in point is an updated policy recently announced by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). As the Miami Herald reports, that new policy gives USCIS officials much broader authority to deny visa applications, requests, or petitions that contain mistakes or missing information without first giving applicants a chance to correct their applications. The new policy, which comes on the heels of other similar policy updates, will make it easier for immigrants, including those with green cards, to be placed into deportation proceedings.

Denial without notice

Until recently, if a visa application contained missing information or errors, it was USCIS policy to send the applicant either a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). These courtesy notices gave applicants an opportunity to correct the problems with their applications.

Under the new guidelines, however, USCIS officials will no longer have to send out such courtesy notices. Instead, they can simply deny an application, petition, or request that contains incorrect or missing information without any warning.

Increased chance of deportation?

The change in policy means that those applying for a visa could end having a minor error - such as an incorrect address of a former employer - leading to their application being denied and thus having to start over. That, obviously, would entail huge costs and wasted time.

For those who are in the United States already and are applying for a change in their visa status then the stakes could be even higher. If their petition is denied due to an error or missing information - again, without notice and without the possibility of being able to correct the mistake - they could be placed in deportation proceedings.

The change in guidelines follows an earlier policy change announced by the USCIS in June. As Quartz reports, that change meant that non-citizens applying for a "benefit," including a green card, citizenship, or change in status, could end up being placed in deportation proceedings if that benefit is denied.

Talking to an attorney

Immigration rules and regulations are becoming much stricter and the stakes for non-citizens who are in the U.S. could not be higher. That is why anybody who is concerned about their immigration status needs to talk to an immigration attorney for help as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can provide clients with advice and representation to help them get their status in order and hopefully resolve any immigration-related issues they may have.