The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated guidance for issuing Notices to Appear (NTA), which begin removal proceedings against an alien, to align it with Administration immigration enforcement priorities. USCIS officers will now issue NTAs for a wider range of cases involving fraud, criminal activity, or where illegal aliens have been denied an immigration benefit.

In a press release USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna said, “For too long, USCIS officers uncovering instances of fraudulent or criminal activity have been limited in their ability to help ensure U.S. immigration laws are faithfully executed. This updated policy equips USCIS officers with clear guidance they need and deserve to support the enforcement priorities established by the president, keep our communities safe, and protect the integrity of our immigration system from those seeking to exploit it.”

USCIS, along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), has legal authority to issue NTAs, which instruct aliens to appear before an immigration judge on a certain date for purposes of removal. Under the new guidance, USCIS officers will issue an NTA in cases where an individual is removable and:

  • Fraud or misrepresentation is substantiated, and/or where an applicant abused any program related to the receipt of public benefits;
  • An applicant is convicted of or charged with a criminal offense, or has committed acts that are chargeable as a criminal offense, even if the criminal conduct was not the basis for the denial or the ground of removability;
  • USCIS has denied an Application for Naturalization on good moral character grounds because of a criminal offense; and
  • USCIS has denied an illegal alien’s an application or petition for other benefits.

Updated: Fri, Jul 20th 2018 @ 11:45am EDT