On June 9th US Citizenship and Immigrant Services (USCIS) announced that they have updated their policy manual to show how they are making improvements to expedited processing, requests for evidence (RFE), the notice of intent to deny (NOID) procedure as well as an extending approvals for initial and renewed employment authorization documents for applicants of adjustment of status applications.
According to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the goal is to eliminate policies that fail to promote access to the legal immigration system and to help modernize the U.S. immigration system.
Part of this policy manual update is the return to pre-Trump adjudication methods relating to Requests for Evidence and Notices for Intent to Deny. This means that USCIS will not simply deny a process without providing the opportunity for the applicant to show that additional evidence could potentially demonstrate eligibility for an immigration benefit. Basically, the updated policy will make sure that benefit requestors are given an opportunity to correct innocent mistakes and unintentional omissions before denying an immigration request. This is such amazing news for immigrants since so many prior processes under Trump were cruelly denied when a simple error could have been changed and an approval granted.
USCIS also updated the factors they use to provide expedited processing of pending immigration requests. Expedited processing is a process available for requestors who urgently need their request for immigration benefits adjudicated by. USCIS will review these requests on a case-by-case basis. Any expedited requests for cases that have a final order of removal or for those in deportation proceedings will be coordinated between USCIS and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Besides case-by-case requests for expedited reviews, the government is again allowing nonprofits to make requests that can be shown to further cultural and social interests of the United States. This option is available for applicants who also may be eligible for any existing premium processing requests.
Because so many applicants who applied for processes that were legally supposed to include the right to obtain work permits experienced such long delays, outright denials or were just ignored under the Trump administration, USCIS recently announced that it would automatically grant 2 year approvals instead of the normal 1 year for applicants applying for adjustment of status. This could potentially affect nearly 370,000 employment authorization requests that were submitted in fiscal year 2020.
These improvements by USCIS will greatly improve the processes for family-based immigration as well as employment-related processes in a time where the US urgently needs immigrants. Recent studies show that that the U.S. does not have enough high-skilled workers to meet demand for computer-related jobs, and employers are seeking immigrant talent to help fill that gap. A bipartisan immigration research group found that for every unemployed computer or math worker in the country in 2020, there were more than seven job postings for computer-related occupations. This is a trend that has been found in many other industries. This problem was worsened by the pandemic and the harmful immigration policies of President Trump. The hope is that President Biden can figure out a way to loosen existing restrictions on these policies in time for employers to find much needed talent in order to continue operations that in many cases are already critically unstable.