New NTA Policy Starting October 1, 2018
NTA or Notice to Appear is a charging document with the filing of which starts a removal (deportation) proceeding against a person in the US. Ordinary, it would be ICE (or immigration “police”) that would issue an NTA after it determined there are grounds for a person’s removal from the US.
Previously, USCIS would issue NTAs for persons with denied I 751 petitions. USCIS Asylum officers would also issue NTAs to those who were referred to court after an unsuccessful asylum interview. With the new policy, USCIS will be issuing NTAs in almost every denied case, including denied cases of those who filed for adjustment of status (form I 485) and change/extension of status (form I 765). The NTAs will be issued in all cases of denials, except for employment-based matters and humanitarian matters. As such, the new changes will probably not affect VAWA and other Special Immigrants applicants.
USCIS explicitly names the following groups of immigrants that would be issued NTAs those who:
- (a) Have been convicted of any criminal offense;
- (b) Have been charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved;
- (c) Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;
- (d) Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency;
- (e) Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
- (f) Are subject to a final order of removal, but have not departed; or
- (g) In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise, pose a risk to public safety or national security.
Significantly, former TPS holders will become subjects of the policy as well.
Other cases that become will be prioritized would include those involving fraud or misrepresentation. It means that those who applied for I 601 fraud/misrepresentation waiver and were denied will be issued NTAs. The same is true for those who were found to be significantly abusing public benefits.
The green card holders will not be safe either. USCIS will issue NTAs on all N-400 cases if the N-400 has been denied on good moral character (GMC) grounds based on the underlying criminal offense, and provided the alien is removable. USICS will also have authority to issue NTAs if a person requests them to do so in order to seek lawful status or other relief in removal proceedings. The request must be made in writing to the USCIS office that has jurisdiction over the case, and USCIS retains discretion to deny such a request.
If you have questions regarding the new policy, call us to make an appointment at 917-885-2261.