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Updates from the Department of Homeland Security

USCIS Policy Manual:

On January 15, 2013, USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas engaged with stakeholders about the agency’s new policy manual.  USCIS’s Office of Policy and Strategy, and particularly its chief, Denise Vanison, have been working hard on the manual for almost four years.  Their efforts are a response to feedback the agency had been receiving about the need for consistency and predictability in adjudications. 

Staff of the Office of Policy and Strategy reviewed all of the agency’s written policies – over 100,000 of them – from field offices and service centers.  They then conducted an internal and external survey in order to prioritize.  Agency wide working groups were assembled to develop and memorialize a consistent set of policies.  The new manual will replace the Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) and the individual policies shared on the current USCIS Immigration Policy Memoranda website.  The manual is a web-based searchable repository for forms, guidance, regulations, and other material.  So far, only the sections on citizenship and naturalization have been completed.  Eleven other volumes will follow, covering topics including: refugees, asylees, immigrants, nonimmigrants, admissibility, waivers, adjustment of status, and travel, employment, and identity documents.    

New Registration Process for National Stakeholder Engagements:

This month, USCIS announced new procedures for RSVPs to its national stakeholder teleconferences.  Going forward, each invitation from USCIS will include a unique link to a website where you will be asked to enter your email address and preferences for that engagement. Regular participants in USCIS engagements will be able to set preferences to expedite future registrations.

USCIS also recommends that stakeholders update their subscription preferences, as the options have changed.

The Public Engagement Division now maintains two subscription lists:

  • Updates from the USCIS Public Engagement Division and;
  • Updates from the USCIS Intergovernmental Affairs Branch.

Subscribing to these lists will ensure you receive notification of all documents available for public comment as well as invitations to all upcoming national stakeholder engagements.

For news and alerts from USCIS, the agency recommends subscribing to those individual topics.

ICE Expands Community and Detainee Helpline:

This month, ICE announced extended operating hours for its Community and Detainee Helpline. Callers to 888-351-4024 can now speak to an operator from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm (Eastern Time).

The helpline is toll-free service for ICE detainees, their representatives, non-governmental organizations, and the general public to directly engage the ICE Office of the Public Advocate to answer questions and resolve concerns. Individuals in ICE detention can speak to an operator to:

  • Obtain basic immigration case information,
  • Report an incident of sexual or physical assault or abuse,
  • Report serious or unresolved problems,
  • Report if they are a victim of human trafficking, or
  • Let ICE know that immigration detention led to a separation from a minor child or other dependent.

Community members can call with:

  • Outreach inquiries and requests,
  • Prosecutorial discretion requests,
  • Detention concerns,
  • Information about enforcement activities, and
  • Other concerns.

For more information about the Office of the Public Advocate, see the office’s website.