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New DHS Memo Benefits Those In Removal Proceedings

Posted on Monday, September 20, 2010

Are you in removal proceedings and also the beneficiary of a pending or approved USCIS petition or application? If so, a memo that was recently released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) might benefit you. The memo reflects a new Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement (“ICE”) policy regarding individuals in removal proceedings who are eligible for a USCIS benefit. In particular, under the new policy, ICE will affirmatively request that USCIS expedite the adjudication of petitions for individuals in removal proceedings. In non-detained cases, USCIS will try to adjudicate petitions referred to it by ICE within 45 days after receiving the individual’s file.

In addition, under the new policy, where ICE determines that a non-detained individual appears eligible for relief, ICE should promptly move to dismiss proceedings in cases that meet certain criteria, most importantly where the individual’s priority date is current. Moreover, according to the memo, ICE could even, in its discretion, consider cases for dismissal that do not meet these criteria. The new policy directs all ICE field offices to develop a standard operating procedure (“SOP”) to identify those removal cases that involve petitions or applications pending before USCIS.

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