Recently Released NTA Policy Memo Now Delayed for Further Guidance

On July 30, 2018 USCIS released an update indicating the agency will delay the implementation of their new policy (released June 28, 2018) authorizing the agency to begin initiating removal (deportation) proceedings for certain individuals seeking immigration benefits by issuing notices to appear (NTAs). A shift from previous policy that did not authorize the agency to initiate NTAs.

Under the new NTA policy, USCIS would now have authorization to issue NTAs for the following categories of cases: 

• Cases where fraud or misrepresentation is substantiated, and/or where an applicant abused any program related to the receipt of public benefits. USCIS will issue an NTA even if the case is denied for reasons other than fraud.

• Criminal cases where an applicant is convicted of or charged with a criminal offense, or has committed acts that are chargeable as a criminal offense, even if the criminal conduct was not the basis for the denial or the ground of removability. USCIS may refer cases involving serious criminal activity to ICE before adjudication of an immigration benefit request pending before USCIS without issuing an NTA.

• Cases in which USCIS denies a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, on good moral character grounds because of a criminal offense.

• Cases in which, upon the denial of an application or petition, an applicant is unlawfully present in the United States.

USCIS' implementation of the new policy has now been postponed until further guidance from the agency is created and issued.