USCIS Acting Director Tracy L. Renaud

USCIS Acting Director Tracy L. Renaud

Statement from USCIS Acting Director Tracy L. Renaud on World Refugee Day June 20, 2021

Release Date 06/17/2021

On Sunday, June 20, we observe World Refugee Day. Every year, this day draws attention to the plight of refugees across the globe. At U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the occasion is particularly meaningful.

Since 1980, the United States has resettled more than 3 million refugees who were forced to flee their homeland. USCIS plays a critical role in helping the U.S. government fulfill its humanitarian obligations by adjudicating refugee claims overseas and offering compassion to the displaced and persecuted.

This year, USCIS commemorates the 16th anniversary of our agency’s refugee corps. Now, more than ever, this corps exemplifies the belief that generosity is a sign of American strength, and that when we offer refuge to those in need of protection, we are living up to our nation’s highest ideals.

In the first days of his Administration, President Biden issued executive orders to restore faith in our nation’s legal immigration system and to improve our ability to welcome and resettle refugees. USCIS is working together with our federal, state and local partners to carry out these executive orders and rebuild our nation’s refugee admissions and resettlement program.

USCIS stands proud of the role we play ensuring that those eligible for refuge will continue to find a safe haven in the United States. We celebrate the significant contributions that generations of refugees and their families have made to our country. Indeed, they continue to be a rich part of the fabric of our nation and leave an indelible mark for generations to come.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/17/2021

They Come to America: The Politics of Immigration – They Come to America: The Politics of Immigrant (419)6.11 h 55 min202016+Producer Dennis Michael Lynch offers the most explosive film ever made on illegal immigration in the US. In addition to highlighting the battle between President Trump and his political adversaries who want open borders, Lynch shows how the latest surge from Central America presents new security risks and huge costs to taxpayers. This new documentary is a true eye-opener and a must-see film. Directors Dennis M. Lynch

USCIS Clarifies Evidence Requirements Under Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that it is updating guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding eligibility for adjustment of status under Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF). The updated guidance clarifies what evidence an applicant may submit to establish Liberian nationality when applying for adjustment of status under LRIF.

The updated guidance includes examples of secondary evidence that could support an applicant’s claim of Liberian nationality, as part of the totality of the evidence. These examples include, but are not limited to, expired Liberian passports, baptismal records or other religious documents, school records, and medical records. USCIS will evaluate all evidence an applicant provides, including the applicant’s testimony during an interview, to evaluate their eligibility for adjustment of status

Under Section 7611 of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020, certain Liberian nationals are eligible for permanent residence (a Green Card). The spouses, unmarried children under 21, and unmarried sons and daughters 21 or older of eligible Liberian nationals who are principal applicants also may be eligible for Green Cards. USCIS will accept properly filed applications from LRIF applicants until Dec. 20, 2021.

Find the updated guidance at USCIS Policy Manual – Volume 7: Adjustment of Status, Part P, Other Adjustment Programs, Chapter 5, Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness. For more information about filing for adjustment of status under LRIF, see the LRIF webpage and the webpage for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/17/2021

Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal - Explores what it means to be undocumented in a legal, social, economic, and historical context - In this illuminating work, immigrant rights activist Aviva Chomsky shows how "illegality" and "undocumentedness" are concepts that were created to exclude and exploit. With a focus on US policy, she probes how people, especially Mexican and Central Americans, have been assigned this status - and to what ends. Blending history with human drama, Chomsky explores what it means to be undocumented in a legal, social, economic, and historical context. The result is a powerful testament to the complex, contradictory, and ever-shifting nature of status in America.

Statement from USCIS Acting Director Tracy Renaud on Today’s DOJ Asylum Decisions

Release Date 06/16/2021

“We applaud the attorney general’s decisions today vacating two prior decisions that limited asylum eligibility for individuals fleeing violence perpetrated by domestic partners or on account of familial relationships in their home countries. We have advised our officers to no longer rely on the vacated decisions and are working to swiftly provide specific, comprehensive guidance to our workforce to align our policies with these decisions.

“USCIS is committed to embracing our nation’s highest values by expanding legal migration pathways and administering humanitarian programs that allow for greater access to protection for eligible individuals.”

Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/16/2021

USCIS Extends Transitional Parole for CNMI Long-Term Resident Status Applicants

Release Date 06/16/2021

USCIS announced today that it will automatically extend parole and employment authorization, if applicable, for parolees who timely applied for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) long-term resident status.

This specific extension of parole applies only to current parolees who timely filed Form I-955, Application for CNMI Long-Term Resident Status, and Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and whose applications remain pending on June 30, 2021. USCIS will automatically extend their parole (and employment authorization, if applicable) without interruption through Dec. 30, 2021, or the date that USCIS makes a final decision on their Form I‑955 and Form I-765, whichever is earlier.

For eligible parolees whose timely filed Form I-955 and Form I-765 remain pending on June 30, 2021, and who have an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), if applicable, expiring on or before June 30, 2021, the following documentation will serve as evidence of identity and work authorization for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, purposes until Dec. 30, 2021 (or the date that USCIS makes a final decision on their long-term resident status application, whichever is earlier):

  • A copy of this web alert;
  • Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document, bearing category code “C-11” with an expiration date on or before June 29, 2020; and
  • Evidence that they filed Form I-955 and Form I-765 on or before Aug. 17, 2020. This may be a copy of Form I-797C, Notice of Action, reflecting that they have filed Form I‑765 requesting the classification (“class”) code of (c)(37), or if unavailable, a copy of their Form I-955 and Form I-765 with a mail receipt.

The CNMI long-term resident status was created by the Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act (Public Law 116-24), signed into law on June 25, 2019. The law specifically gave the Department of Homeland Security the discretion to authorize parole, with work authorization, for these individuals during the time period needed to implement the new law. USCIS previously extended this parole three times in 2020, on June 17, Aug. 11, and Dec. 30.

Eligible individuals had 180 days, until Aug. 17, 2020, to apply for CNMI long-term resident status. USCIS announced the Aug. 17 deadline when it opened the application period on Feb. 19, 2020. If USCIS denies a parolee’s Form I-955 and Form I-765, their parole status (and employment authorization, if applicable) will end and they must depart the CNMI.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/16/2021

USCIS Updates Policies to Improve Immigration Services

Release Date 06/09/2021

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has issued new policy updates in the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify the criteria and circumstances for expedited processing; improve request for evidence (RFE) and notice of intent to deny (NOID) guidance; and increase the validity period for initial and renewal employment authorization documents (EADs) for certain noncitizens with pending adjustment of status applications.

“We are taking action to eliminate policies that fail to promote access to the legal immigration system, and will continue to make improvements that help individuals navigate the path to citizenship, and that modernize our immigration system,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas.

“These policy measures are consistent with the Biden-Harris administration’s priorities to eliminate unnecessary barriers to our nation’s legal immigration system and reduce burdens on noncitizens who may be eligible for immigration benefits,” said Acting USCIS Director Tracy Renaud. “USCIS is committed to promoting policies and procedures that ensure we operate in a fair, efficient, and humane manner that reflects America’s heritage as a land of opportunity for those who seek it.”

Expedited Processing

Under the updated expedite criteria policy (PDF, 293.62 KB), benefit requestors and USCIS officers are provided further guidance on when expedited processing may be warranted. Additionally, nonprofit organizations whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States may request that a benefit be considered for expedited processing, even if premium processing is available for that benefit.

Expedited processing is a special-situation service that USCIS considers for benefit requestors who urgently need their request for immigration benefits adjudicated. USCIS reviews such requests on a case-by-case basis. Expedited requests for noncitizens with a final order of removal or noncitizens in removal proceedings are coordinated between USCIS and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny

USCIS is returning to the adjudicative principles of a June 2013 memo (PDF) that instructed agency officers to issue an RFE or NOID when additional evidence could potentially demonstrate eligibility for an immigration benefit. As part of the updated RFE and NOID policy (PDF, 319.1 KB), USCIS is rescinding a July 2018 memo that permitted agency officers to deny certain immigration benefit requests instead of first issuing an RFE or NOID.

This updated policy will ensure that benefit requestors are given an opportunity to correct innocent mistakes and unintentional omissions. In general, a USCIS officer will issue an RFE or NOID when the officer determines additional information or explanation may potentially establish eligibility for an immigration benefit.

Employment Authorization Documents

Updated policy guidance (PDF, 296.76 KB) will increase the current one-year validity period on both initial and renewal EADs to two years for certain adjustment of status applicants. Increasing the validity period on EADs for certain adjustment applicants is expected to reduce the number of employment authorization requests USCIS receives and allow the agency to shift limited resources to other priority areas.

This guidance was issued due to ongoing processing delays affecting the completion of adjustment of status applications. Renewing EADs in this category is generally free, and USCIS received nearly 370,000 adjustment-related employment authorization requests in fiscal year 2020.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov 

. Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/09/2021

 The Wall - (40)1 h 20 min201813+Investigative journalists embark on a 2,000-mile journey along the US/Mexico border to dissect President Trump's proposed border wall, unveiling the history, heartache, and hope that comes from living on one of America's most controversial stretches of land.

USCIS Eases Visitor Restrictions for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

Release Date 05/27/2021

Due to updated guidance from the CDC, USCIS has updated its visitor policy. Fully vaccinated individuals no longer have to wear a face covering. Individuals two years old and older who are not fully vaccinated must still wear a face covering.

To be considered fully vaccinated, it must be at least two weeks after receiving a second dose in a two-dose series or at least two weeks after receiving a dose of a single-dose vaccine.

USCIS has eased other requirements for fully vaccinated individuals who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Those who have returned from domestic air, international air or cruise ship travel in the past 10 days may enter USCIS facilities if they are fully vaccinated. Individuals who have been in close contact (within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) with anyone known to have COVID-19 in the previous 14 days may also enter USCIS facilities if they are fully vaccinated. Healthcare workers who consistently wear an N95 respirator and proper personal protective equipment or equivalent when in contact with COVID-19 positive individuals continue to be exempt from reporting close contact.

In DHS-controlled spaces, this guidance supersedes state, local, tribal, or territorial rules and regulations regarding face coverings.

For more information, see our USCIS Visitor Policy. Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/27/2021

USCIS Announces Open Application Period for Citizenship and Integration Grant Program

Release Date 05/17/2021

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is accepting applications for two funding opportunities under the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program. The grant opportunities will provide up to $10 million in grants for citizenship preparation programs in communities across the country.

These competitive grant opportunities are open to organizations that prepare lawful permanent residents for naturalization and promote civic integration through increased knowledge of English, U.S. history, and civics. USCIS received support from Congress through appropriations to make these funding opportunities available to communities.

“It is critical that we provide immigrants pursuing citizenship and the organizations who help support their efforts with the tools to be successful,” said Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “The Citizenship and Integration Grant Program helps those preparing to become U.S. citizens to successfully integrate into American society. This administration recognizes that naturalization is an important milestone in the civic integration of immigrants, and we will continue to provide support for individuals hoping to establish new citizenship in our country.”

“USCIS is committed to empowering immigrants to pursue citizenship and the privileges that accompany it,” said Acting USCIS Director Tracy Renaud. “The Citizenship and Integration Grant Program equips immigrants with the tools they need to be successful throughout their journey to become new U.S. citizens and beyond. This year, USCIS is reaching out to more organizations that provide services to underserved communities to ensure that all who are eligible to apply for these grants—or to pursue naturalization—are able to do so.”

USCIS seeks to expand availability of high-quality citizenship and integration services throughout the country under the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program:

  • Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services: This opportunity will fund public or nonprofit organizations that offer both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services to lawful permanent residents. USCIS expects to award 33 organizations up to $250,000 each for two years through this opportunity. Applications are due by July 16, 2021.
  • Refugee and Asylee Integration Services Program: This grant opportunity will provide extended integration services with a focus on individualized programming to former refugees and asylees to attain the skills and knowledge required for successful citizenship. It will also provide other services that foster a sense of belonging and attachment to the United States. The program has expanded eligibility to include lawful permanent residents who were admitted or entered the United States as Cuban or Haitian entrants or individuals admitted on a Special Immigrant Visa. USCIS expects to award six public or nonprofit organizations with experience in serving refugees up to $300,000 each for a period of two years through this opportunity. Applicants must design an integration support program that provides a suite of services to program beneficiaries to promote long-term civic integration and citizenship. Applications are due by July 16, 2021.

USCIS expects to announce award recipients in September 2021.

Since 2009, the USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grant Program has awarded about $102 million through 473 grants to immigrant-serving organizations. These grant recipients have provided citizenship preparation services to more than 279,000 lawful permanent residents in 39 states and the District of Columbia.

To apply for these funding opportunities, visit www.grants.gov. USCIS encourages applicants to visit www.grants.gov before the application deadline to obtain registration information needed to complete the application process.

For additional information on the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program for fiscal year 2021, visit www.uscis.gov/grants or email the USCIS Office of Citizenship at citizenshipgrantprogram@uscis.dhs.gov.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov

. Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/17/2021

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