I recently heard from an acquaintance of mine (not a client), whose employer had received a denial notice from USCIS for a change of status petition from the person's current temporary professional-level status to a different one. The person involved is unquestionably proficient in the field of activity in question, working for an established organization, and with many accomplishments to be proud of. Many similar cases have been easily approved, to my knowledge.
This one was not. I am not familiar with the details, since, as mentioned above, I am not the person's lawyer. I am not writing to challenge the denial in this particular case. For all I know, it might have been justified. But what is important in this situation was the tone of the denial. The person reports that the way the denial notice (which I have not seen), was written, was so antagonistic, hostile and abusive, to the point of being humiliating, that the person, the value of whose work is beyond any resasonable question, had lost all desire to stay in the United States.
The person is still eligible to work and stay in the US with the current visa, but no longer feels welcome here, and is thinking seriously of going home for good. I might add that the person comes from one of the lowest of low-fraud countries anywhere in the world, is highly educated, speaks English almost like a native, and was seeking a visa which, way back in the mists of time before the Obama administation took office, used to be routinely approved. My acquaintance is not given to emotional outbursts, but normally tends to be rather cool and laid back.
My point is not that USCIS should approve every professional work visa petition. As I mentioned, it is certainly possible that there might have been a valid reason of one kind or another for a denial in this case, since I do not know the details. But the abusive tone of the denial, as my acquaintance describes it, and I have no reason to doubt the person's word, was totally uncalled for, while at the same time being all too familiar, as any business immigration lawyer can attest.
In fact, that may have been the saving factor in this situation. I told my acquaintance that I and many other immigration lawyers are so used to receiving abusive, hostile and disparaging decisions from USCIS adjudicators that it would be more appropriate to look at the denial notice as just normal USCIS writing style in the current age of Obamigration. It should not be taken personally.
My acquaintance brightened up and may decide to stay in America after all. If the person does, all of us, except for some splenetic USCIS adjudicators and their superiors in Washington or in the field who egg them on, will benefit.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.