Saturday, December 29, 2012

USCIS Response to Ombudsman's Recommendations of 2011

  • The Omudsman issued a variety of recommendations to the USCIS covering employment-based, family-based issues, RFE practices, transformation program, etc. This response report gives some clues as to where the USCIS stands on the issues. For instance, this report indicates that while RFE templates for H nonimmigrants have not yet been posted, USCIS Headquarters has worked with the Service Centers on the RFEs for this classification.

    For example, when the January 2010 H-lB employer-employee relationship policy memorandum was issued, USCIS Headquarters personnel conducted related training at the Service Centers. SCOPS worked with the Service Centers to create RFE templates that addressed the issues covered in the memorandum and required provisional 100-percent supervisory review of RFEs. SCOPS regularly conducts roundtables with the Service Centers to discuss issues within these classifications to ensure consistency and to determine where USCIS may need additional training and materials.
    Read on.

  • The RFE templates have added one benefit and one drawback to the agency practices. The plus side of such templates includes assurance of "uniformity" and "fairness" among different employers and different immigrants in different locations dealing with different offices as well as those in the same locations whose cases are handled by different adjudicators. The minus side of such templates is potential abuse of such templates by adjudicators issuing boiler-plate RFEs ignoring differences in circumstances and facts which are involved in each specific case. The drawback side of this practice has produced, from time to time, even 10-page RFEs mostly reciting parts of provisions in the regulations regardless of relevance to the specific case and requesting certain evidence across the boards.

    This is so-called "bureaucratic" fall-out aspect of the RFE templates. Again, assurance of "uniformity" in adjudication standards is very important to achieve fairness and justice for all the customers requesting services with the same facts regardless of different locations and different adjudicators involved. In this regards, this RFE Template initiatives of the current USCIS Director is revolutionary and admirable in that until he launched this initiative, lack of fairness and justice in immigration adjudications for consumers in different locations had been an ailing problem with the agency. Such pains were also shared even in the same jurisdiction depending on which officer handles their cases.

    In order to achieve the intended goals, though, the USCIS leaderships should just have to move one step further to work out solutions to minimize the drawback aspect of the RFE Template policy such that the consumers are relieved from receiving, from time to time, requests which are neither relevant nor necessary such that the agency achieves savings of tax payers money by not wasting papers and times to produce such papers and achieving efficiency and effectiveness in management of immigration services function.

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