The U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it will once again be accepting incomplete benefit application forms despite the legal requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
Title 8 CFR 103.2 states clearly, “Every form, benefit request, or other document must be submitted to DHS and executed in accordance with the form instructions regardless of a provision of 8 CFR chapter I to the contrary.
The form’s instructions are hereby incorporated into the regulations requiring its submission. Each form, benefit request, or other document must be filed with the fee(s) required by regulation.” A benefit request is adhjucated after the request is accepted and the fees (if any are required) are processed.
Acceptance in and of itself does not guarantee that the request will be approved, and incorrect or incomplete requests are supposed to be rejected.The USCIS Policy Manual says, “In order for USCIS to accept a benefit request, a submission must satisfy all applicable acceptance criteria.”
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, these criteria are, “(1) a complete, properly executed form, with a proper signature; (2) correct fees; and (3) the required initial evidence for intake purposes, as directed by the form instructions.” Unfortunately, “senior Trump administration political leadership at USCIS discovered that the agency was accepting woefully incomplete Forms I-589, I-612, and I-918 in violation of the form instructions and regulations.” (These are forms applying for Asylum, Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement, and Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status).
Form I-589 instructions state, “ If you file your application with missing information, we may return it to you as incomplete.” The Center for Immigration Studies explains that accepting incomplete applications is not only illegal, it creates serious problems, “For example, the system is overrun with fraudulent, frivolous, and otherwise non-meritorious asylum claims because it is free to file an asylum application and the (illegal) alien can get a work permit just on the basis of a pending application. The initial work permits are also free.”
The USCIS just announced, however, it “has reverted back [sic] to the rejection criteria that existed for these forms before October 2019. USCIS will no longer reject Form I-589, Form I-612 or Form I-918 if an applicant leaves a blank space.” The Center for Immigration Studies foresees serious repercussions from this policy, explaining, “Tens of thousands of ineligible illegal aliens will obtain work permits and slow-walk the inevitable denial…Accepting a deluge of incomplete applications will divert limited USCIS resources from processing properly filed benefit requests, adding unnecessary (and unfair) delays in the adjudicative process for those who follow the rules. In the U visa context, it is doubtful that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will remove any illegal alien with a pending U visa petition, no matter how bogus the claim is.”
Instead of following or at least changing the laws, the Biden administration is simply ignoring the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), by which it is legally bound, to achieve its policy goals.