October 12, 2006

Persons filing immigration applications need to be more certain than ever of the consequences of such filings before they filein the wake of a September memo from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.  The memo, titled “Disposition of Cases Involving Removable Aliens,” provides guidance to USCIS officers when reviewing applications of persons who are not currently in a lawful immigration status.  The American Immigration Lawyers Association urges that “caution should be exercised … with respect to a pending I-130 petition for classification in the family preference categories where the alien beneficiary is not in status.  There is increasing concern that USCIS will be devoting attention to the status issue when reviewing these petitions and that they may … elect to issue an NTA.”  In other words, petitions filed when no relief is available are likely to result in removal proceedings before an immigration court.  If there is any question at all as to maintenance of status, you should consult with an immigration lawyer before submitting any paperwork to USCIS.