The current administration continues its crackdown on immigration through a new policy memo. The guidance instructs USCIS to issue a Notice to Appear after it denies certain immigration applications.  A Notice to Appear is a document that requires an individual to appear before an immigration judge to argue his or her case.  It is the first step for the government to start the removal process of an individual immigrant.

USCIS may now issue a Notice to Appear after it denies applications such as adjustment of status (green card applications), B visitor extensions, and other non-employment-based applications to extend or change nonimmigrant status.  USCIS will still first issue a denial letter, which will explain the reason for the denial and provide applicants with notice of the decision.  If these applicants then remain in the U.S. without authorization, USCIS may issue a Notice to Appear.  USCIS will continue to prioritize cases of applicants with criminal records, fraud, or national security concerns. The new guidance does not apply to employment-based petitions or humanitarian applications at this time.

As we previously discussed in a recent blog, it is very important to make sure you submit a complete and thorough application to the government to avoid a denial. Now, it is equally as important to understand what could happen if the government denies your application.  A denial under this new policy could mean that you have to fight your case in front of an immigration judge in order to stay in the United States. With such high stakes, we recommend talking to an experienced immigration attorney to make sure you understand all of the potential outcomes when applying for an immigration benefit.