United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is changing the way they communicate with applicants and their representatives. Within the past few months, USCIS has:
- Terminated the Service Center email addresses for case escalation inquires.
- Continued to phase out and replace self-scheduled InfoPass appointments with USCIS-assisted scheduling through the USCIS Contact Center, formerly called the National Customer Service Center.
Part of a broader initiative by USCIS called the Information Services Modernization Program, or ISMP, these changes limit the access representatives and applicants have to case information and to assistance with escalating problems or exigencies in cases. Closing off access to USCIS is particularly troublesome when processing times are skyrocketing, more Notices to Appear are issued with denials and more denials occur without Requests for Evidence. See CLINIC’s analysis of the ISMP here, and see notes from the Feb. 14 Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman teleconference about the changes here.
CLINIC is closely monitoring the changes. We are also coordinating with our organizational partners to gather data and plan advocacy to improve access to USCIS information and services. You can contribute to our efforts by filling out this short survey about your experiences with new USCIS communications procedures.
If you have cases that are stagnant or problematic and have exhausted your methods of escalating the problem with USCIS, please contact our advocacy team for further assistance.
As of Feb. 1, all technical assistance requests must be submitted through our Ask the Experts page on the CLINIC website. Any requests submitted via a designated email address will no longer be accepted after Jan. 31. Additionally, in order to submit a question on the Ask the Experts page, you must be logged into the website as an affiliate.
Currently under review by the attorney general, Matter of L-E-A- could potentially affect the cases of thousands of people who are seeking asylum because they are at risk in their home country based on their family membership. This backgrounder answers common questions surrounding the case and its prospective impact.
The purpose of this document is to provide a better understanding of immigrant integration as a concept and to better contextualize it in the work that CLINIC does because of its roots in Catholic social teaching. This paper addresses four main questions: What is integration and what does it look like? Why is it important? How does it fit into the work that CLINIC does? How does it fit with Catholic social teaching and the values of the Catholic Church globally and in the United States?
The current 18-month grant of Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, for South Sudan will expire on May 2, 2019 unless extended by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. By statute, the DHS Secretary must decide whether to extend and/or redesignate or terminate TPS for South Sudan by March 3, 2019. This resource provides detailed information on the grounds for TPS designation for South Sudan and what the impact will be if it is not extended and redesignated.
Updates from the Center for Immigrant Integration (February 2019)
CLINIC’s Center for Immigrant Integration highlights the work of Catholic Charities Diocese of Pueblo and their collaborative integration work with the city of Pueblo, Colorado. Check out the Center’s newly published white paper on integration and our recently completed four-part webinar on forming partnerships with city governments to promote integration. The Immigrant Learning Center takes immigration into the classroom in a free upcoming webinar and Washington, D.C. helps its residents apply for citizenship.
This month’s promising practice article highlights Catholic Charities Diocese of Pueblo’s work with the city of Pueblo to increase cooperation and address integration challenges in the community.
CLINIC’s four-part webinar “Promoting Immigrant Integration in Partnership with City Government” is now available on the Center for Immigrant Integration’s website. The series focuses on the basic components of establishing a relationship with city governments to foster immigrant integration. Be sure to download the accompanying “City Resources Toolkit,” which helps agencies lay the groundwork to successful relationships with city governments.
Download CLINIC’s “Immigrant and Community Integration: Fulfilling Catholic Social Teaching and American Values” to learn more about immigrant integration as a concept and as connected to CLINIC’s roots in Catholic social teaching.
Outside Events, Webinars and Resources
“Teaching Immigration Now,” Tuesday, Feb. 19: This free webinar, offered by The Immigrant Learning Center, focused on increasing awareness, respectful discussion and thoughtful reflection on immigration in the classroom. If you missed the webinar, it is available on The Immigrant Learning Center’s website.
Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative, Mar. 11-13: This annual event is part of the Center for Migration Studies of New York’s Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative, “which seeks to understand, expand and strengthen the work of Catholic institutions with immigrant communities.”
Integration in the News
Mayor Muriel Bowser launches initiative to encourage naturalization through fee assistance.