In 2018, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) introduced a new policy which presents serious risks for immigrants who are planning to apply for citizenship in the United States.
Any individual who is present in the United States unlawfully should understand the details and implications of this memorandum due to the severity of the potential consequences for those who are affected.
Immigrants who are unlawfully present in the United States should be clear on what this new policy means for them.
What is an NTA?
A Notice to Appear, which is issued by the Department of Homeland Security, is a document which requires the recipient to appear in front of an immigration judge. The issuance of a Notice to Appear is the official start of removal proceedings.
Once the individual appears in court, the judge will decide whether or not to remove him or her from the country. If the recipient fails to appear in court, he or she will be deported and unable to re-enter the United States for five years.
What Does this Memorandum Imply?
As a result of this policy change, the USCIS will be able to issue an NTA to any individual whose application for immigration benefits is denied.
This means, of course, that applying for citizenship or other immigration benefits now poses serious risks of removal to individuals who are not lawfully present in the country.
Who Does This Affect?
Any individual that is illegally present in the United States, or is considered removable despite being here lawfully, is eligible to receive an NTA upon denial of their application for immigration benefits.
It should also be noted, though, that the USCIS released a memo which stated that those whose applications for DACA are denied would not receive an NTA unless there is evidence of fraud or other criminal activity.
As this new policy memorandum severely increases the risk of deportation for unlawful residents applying for immigration benefits, it is important to understand whether or not this policy affects you and how to reduce your chances of being removed from the United States. Consulting with an experienced immigration lawyer can help ensure that you understand your rights and will increase your chances of gaining citizenship while also minimizing the risk of deportation. Please contact my office today if you or someone you know has questions on how to navigate through the immigration processes; we offer free immigration consultations in Miami, Orlando, West Palm Beach and Tampa.