ILW.COM - the immigration portal Immigration Daily

Immigration Daily: the news source for legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers

Home Page

Advanced search


Immigration Daily

Archives

Processing times

Immigration forms

Discussion board

Resources

Blogs

Twitter feed

Immigrant Nation

Attorney2Attorney

CLE Workshops

Immigration books

Advertise on ILW

VIP Network

EB-5

Chinese Immig. Daily

About ILW.COM

Connect to us

Make us Homepage

Questions/Comments


SUBSCRIBE

Immigration Daily

 

Chinese Immig. Daily



The leading
immigration law
publisher - over
50000 pages of free
information!

Copyright
©1995-
ILW.COM,
American
Immigration LLC.

Immigration Daily: the news source for
legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers
Enter your email address here:



< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Bloggings on Dysfunctional Government

by Angelo A. Paparelli

Editor's note: Here are the latest entries from Angelo Paparelli's blog.

May 08, 2009

Do Immigration Fee Revenues Drive Justice at the USCIS?

Immigration lawyers, including this blogger, have attended liaison meetings with the USCIS California Service Center and its predecessor agency, INS, for decades.  These meetings have been periodically convened (typically on at least a quarterly basis) since the agency was first housed, decades ago, in San Ysidro CA just inside the U.S. border with Tijuana (the facility was then known as the INS Western Adjudication Center -- hence the answer to the trivia question of why receipt numbers for this office begin with "WAC"). 

In the 1980s, lawyers and agency leaders alike could look out the WAC's window at the border and literally see foreign citizens assemble, as dusk approached, preparing to hop the easily surmounted fence.  Yet, even then INS officials could appreciate the difference between legal immigration and illegality.  We were allies in a common effort to make the legal immigration system work fairly. 

If trends developed suggesting problems in adjudications or clear Service errors, the old INS and many previous CSC directors and assistant center directors would invite the submission by immigration lawyers of sample cases so that supervisors could maintain quality control. Indeed, one of the grounds for requesting and receiving an expedited adjudication, according to the CSC policy guidelines, was "clear service error" in a prior decision. 

At Wednesday's CSC "external stakeholders" liaison meeting, however, the published answer to item # 1 on the formal agenda showed that the times clearly have changed.  Citing 8 C.F.R. § 103.5(a)(5) which authorizes the USCIS to reopen or reconsider a decision at the instance of the agency adjudicator, item # 1 asked how an applicant for an immigration benefit could invoke the regulation where the initial decision involves an obvious mistake by USCIS.  The succinct answer -- file a motion with the proper fee.  The fee for a motion to reopen or reconsider is $585. 

To be sure, a footer on the published minutes made clear that the answers provided are merely the individual opinions of the officials present at the liaison meeting and do not necessarily reflect the policies and interpretations of USCIS. Still, in these straitened times, it sure seems like price gouging when an agency with the word "Services" in its title appoints officers who cannot acknowledge their own clear mistakes without shaking down the public by demanding almost six Ben Franklins.