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

[Federal Register: August 5, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 150)]
[Notices]               
[Page 45410-45412]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr05au05-70]                         

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

[Docket No. DHS-2005-0008; USCIS No. 2340-05]
RIN 1615-ZA17

 
Important Announcement for Class Members of American Baptist 
Churches v. Thornburgh (ABC) Regarding Change of Address Notifications, 
Discontinuance of Form I-855, ABC Change of Address Form, and Permanent 
Closure of the ABC Project Post Office Box

AGENCY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of 
Homeland Security.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This notice informs class members of American Baptist Churches 
v. Thornburgh, 760 F. Supp. 796 (N.D. Cal. 1991) (ABC) of a change in 
procedures for notifying the Office of Refugee, Asylum, and 
International Operations, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services 
(USCIS) of any address changes. It informs ABC class members that the 
ABC Project Post Office Box in Washington, D.C will be closed and that 
USCIS will no longer accept change of address forms sent to that 
address. USCIS intends to standardize the reporting of all alien 
changes of address and has developed a central repository for tracking 
and updating an alien's change of address.

DATES: This notice is effective October 4, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James Wyrough, Program Manager, ABC-
NACARA, Asylum Division, Office of Refugee, Asylum, and International 
Operations, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of 
Homeland Security, 20 Massachusetts Ave., NW., Third Floor, Washington, 
DC 20536, Telephone Number (202) 272-1634.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Class members must notify USCIS of any 
change of address by submitting Form AR-11, Alien's Change of Address 
Card, to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) address listed on 
the Form within 10 days after an address change. If the ABC asylum 
application is pending with a USCIS Asylum Office, the class member 
should also notify that office of the change in address by submitting a 
copy of the completed Form AR-11, or a signed and dated letter 
containing the change of address.

[[Page 45411]]

    To further that goal, USCIS intends to discontinue the use of Form 
I-855, ABC Change of Address Form, and to permanently close the ABC 
Project Post Office Box because it is no longer necessary to have a 
separate centralized location for receiving ABC class members' change 
of address notifications. This action will allow USCIS to expedite 
action in response to a change of address and will be more convenient 
for USCIS and ABC class members.

What Is the ABC Settlement Agreement?

    American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh, 760 F. Supp. 796 (N.D. 
Cal. 1991) (ABC) sets out the settlement of class action law suit 
brought in 1985 by Salvadorans and Guatemalans who alleged that the 
United States government discriminated against them in the adjudication 
of their asylum claims. On December 19, 1990, the United States 
District Court for the Northern District of California entered 
preliminary approval of a settlement agreement reached between the 
Departments of Justice and State and the class members, which provided 
for a de novo adjudication of asylum applications by members of the 
Asylum Officers Corps. The agreement was approved on January 31, 1991 
and published as American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh, 760 F. Supp. 
796 (N.D. Cal. 1991).
    The agreement defined the affected class members to be those 
Salvadorans in the United States as of September 19, 1990 and those 
Guatemalans in the United States as of October 1, 1990. Subsequent 
sections of the agreement limited the availability of relief under the 
settlement to class members who met specific deadlines for registration 
and submitting asylum applications. Guatemalan class members were 
required to apply for asylum on or before January 3, 1995. Salvadoran 
class members were required to apply for asylum on or before January 
31, 1996 (with an administrative grace period to February 16, 1996). 
The agreement also excluded from eligibility those persons who were 
convicted of aggravated felonies or who were apprehended at the time of 
entry on or after December 19, 1990. Following the dissolution of the 
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), USCIS assumed 
responsibility for administering the terms of the agreement relating to 
adjudication of asylum claims.

Why Is the ABC Project Post Office Box Going To Be Closed?

    The former INS established the ABC Project Post Office Box in 
Washington, DC to provide a centralized location for the approximately 
240,000 ABC class members to submit change of address forms via Form I-
855, ABC Change of Address Form. At the time, many ABC class members 
who were eligible to seek benefits of the settlement agreement had not 
yet applied for asylum or any other benefit with the former INS, and 
therefore had no A-number and no record in a national database system, 
such as the Refugee, Asylum, and Parole System (RAPS), for the INS to 
update. By creating a central repository, the ABC Project Post Office 
Box eliminated confusion and simplified the process of reporting a 
change of address for those ABC class members, particularly those who 
had not yet applied for asylum or any other immigration benefit.
    The ABC Project Post Office Box no longer serves the purpose for 
which it was intended. ABC class members must have applied for asylum 
in order to retain their benefits under the settlement agreement, and 
the deadlines for applying for asylum have long passed. Many ABC class 
members have also filed applications pursuant to Section 203 of the 
Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA 203) 
(Public Law 105-100) and the regulations (8 CFR part 240, (H)). ABC 
class members now have records in central DHS databases, where their 
addresses may be updated, and a separate centralized location for 
submitting changes of address is no longer required.
    Additionally, ABC class members with pending asylum and/or NACARA 
203 applications are now required to follow standard DHS procedures for 
submitting change of address notifications. Under current DHS procedure 
for reporting changes of address, ABC class members who have an asylum 
and/or NACARA application pending with USCIS are required to submit 
Form AR-11 to a centralized DHS repository and are requested to notify 
the Asylum Office having jurisdiction over their application(s) of the 
change address. This can be accomplished by providing the Asylum Office 
with a copy of the Form AR-11.
    In light of the foregoing, ABC class members may end up reporting a 
change of address to three different locations: the central DHS 
repository, the Asylum Office, and the ABC Project Post Office Box. 
Since the ABC Project Post Office Box no longer serves its intended 
purpose, submission of changes of address to that location is 
superfluous. Closing the ABC Project Post Office Box and discontinuing 
Form I-855 will eliminate confusion on the part of ABC class members 
and ensure that address changes are properly updated in accordance with 
current DHS procedure.

When Will USCIS Discontinue Form I-855, ABC Change of Address?

    The Form I-855, ABC Change of Address, will be discontinued with 
the effective closing of the ABC Project Post Office Box on October 4, 
2005.

When Will the ABC Project Post Office Box Be Closed?

    USCIS will close the ABC Project Post Office Box on October 4, 
2005. Before the ABC Project Post Office Box is closed, USCIS will take 
additional steps to publicly, through the media and community base 
organizations, inform ABC class members of the need to submit Form AR-
11, Alien's Change of Address Card, directly to the address listed 
below and the request that they additionally notify in writing the 
appropriate Asylum Office of any change of address.

What Will Happen to Change of Address Notifications That Are Sent to 
the ABC Project Post Office Box After It Is Closed?

    The U.S. Postal Service will not forward Form I-855, ABC Change of 
Address, or other mail sent to the ABC Project Post Office Box to the 
Asylum Offices. The U.S. Postal Service will return to the sender all 
mail addressed to the ABC Project Post Office Box after the box has 
been closed, as long as the mail contains a return address on the 
envelope. Mail without a return address will be destroyed.
    It is important that a class member notify USCIS of any changes to 
ensure that the class member receives notice of his or her asylum 
interview. An ABC class member may lose the right to an ABC asylum 
interview and USCIS may deny his or her asylum application if the class 
member fails to appear for an interview and that failure to appear has 
not been excused for good cause.

How Should ABC Class Members Notify USCIS of a Change of Address?

    Pursuant to 8 CFR part 265 all aliens, including ABC class members 
who change their address, must file Form AR-11, Alien Change of Address 
Card, within 10 days of any change of address, at the following 
address:
    For regular U.S. Postal Service: U.S. Department of Homeland 
Security,

[[Page 45412]]

Change of Address, P.O. Box 7134, London, KY 40742-7134.
    For overnight mailings only: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 
Change of Address, 1084-I South Laurel Road, London, KY 40744.
    Applicants may obtain Form AR-11 at their nearest post office, 
nearest DHS office, online at http://uscis.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/ar-11.htm
, or by calling the USCIS forms request line at 1-800-870-

3676.
    Additionally, ABC class members should notify the Asylum Office 
that has jurisdiction over the class member's asylum application of any 
change of address. This additional notification can be accomplished by 
making a copy of the Form AR-11, or providing a signed and dated letter 
containing the change of address to the Asylum Office processing the 
asylum application.
    The information should be clearly printed. Individuals should not 
use any copies of the Form I-855 to notify USCIS of a change of address 
after the ABC Project Post Office Box is closed. After the ABC Project 
Post Office Box is closed, Form AR-11, Alien's Change of Address Card, 
is the only form to be used by an alien to officially report a change 
of address to USCIS.

    Dated: July 29, 2005.
Robert C. Divine,
Acting Deputy Director, U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services.
[FR Doc. 05-15524 Filed 8-4-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4410-10-P




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