USCIS has a brand new trick to deny your case. Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, Missouri, San Diego, California, and Washington DC. I can’t believe what I just saw. Did I just see what I just saw? I was laying in bed the other day, talking to my wife and we were getting ready to go to sleep. And I was looking at my iPad and I saw an alert that USCIS has changed the rules when it comes to biometrics. Now, this is very ironic, given the fact that they are so, so, so far behind on biometrics. What are biometrics? Biometrics are fingerprinting and photography of you when you apply for certain immigration benefits like naturalization or a Green Card. Those applications always require a biometrics appointment at your local service center, so that you can get your background checked after providing your fingerprints and your photo to USCIS.
And so, as many of you know, and followers of our YouTube channel are certainly well aware that there is a huge backlog at USCIS when it comes to biometrics. We have people who’ve been waiting seven, eight, nine months for their biometrics notice. During normal times, it takes about two or three weeks to get your biometrics notice. As is often the case with USCIS, when they find themselves in the midst of a problem, they come up with really creative ways to get their butts out of that hardship, that tough spot that they find themselves in. So, what have they done? Well, I’m going to read you the rule. We’re going to show you it on screen in just a minute, and I’ll walk through the new interpretation of the biometrics rule. But basically, they’re saying that if you miss your biometrics appointment, you or your case is subject to dismissal.
So, they’re going to accept your filing fee, they’re going to make you wait months and months to get your biometrics notice, but if you have the nerve or some kind of an emergency to miss that appointment, then your case is subject to dismissal. Now, this is outrageous. This is shocking. I can’t believe what I just saw. I said to Amani, can you believe this, that this is the way that they’re solving their problem? Instead of putting proper resources into fixing their own backlog, they’re turning the tables on the victims. They’re blaming the victims. They’re making the immigrants who have suffered for their delays, bear the full brunt of their failure. They’re making you pay a filing fee and then if you miss your appointment without notifying them ahead of time, your case is subject to dismissal. This is absolutely ridiculous. This agency has no shame.
They’ve been dragging this out for months and months. In the old days, we got our biometrics notice in a week or two, now it’s months and months. And then instead of just fixing that problem, they are going to subject your case to dismissal. So, let’s go ahead and take a look at the rule. All right. So, if you go to Google and type in USCIS, preparing for your biometric services appointment, you’ll see the alert. This is the new alert that got me jumping out of bed and shot my head to the rafters. You got to look in that alert box, that’s what we’re going to talk about. So, here’s what it says. “If you need to reschedule an appointment for biometric services, you must call the USCIS contact center, 1-800-375-5283.” Now, anybody who watches this show, or looks at our videos knows that they have a huge backlog on that 1-800 number that you could wait for days, days for them to call you back, that you’re not going to get any real relief.
But they’ve now prohibited you from mailing in a request to reschedule your biometrics. They say that the Biometrics Processing Unit in Virginia has now closed and no longer receives mail. Now, here’s the kicker. You must call before the date and time of your original appointment and establish good cause for rescheduling. Good cause means that you have a solid reason, a real reason, a good reason for rescheduling. Now, almost every immigrant I know does everything that they can to get to their biometrics appointment. They understand that the background check doesn’t start until you have your biometrics notice, and that if you postpone your biometrics notice, you’re really going to take longer and longer to get your work card and your Green Card interview or your citizenship. That’s just going to push everything back.
So, now, USCIS says that you have to establish good cause for rescheduling. And then they say, “If you do not follow these requirements and do not appear for your originally scheduled appointment, USCIS may consider the related application, petition, or request abandoned, and as a result, we may deny it.” So, they have given themselves the power without any kind of act of congress or any kind of rule change to issue this alert. And they say, “Now we can deny your application or your petition and consider it abandoned if you don’t appear for your originally scheduled appointment.” This is ridiculous. This is nothing more than a lazy agency who’s gotten farther and farther behind on their processing of cases, shifting the burden back onto the immigrants, and they’re going to try to steal your money. They’re going to try to take the $1,500 you paid for your Green Card or the $700 you paid for your citizenship, and they’re trying to take that money and make you start all the way over.
It’s a way of clearing the decks, it’s a way of taking responsibility off their shoulders and putting them on your shoulders, and frankly, it’s just outrageous. So, hopefully, this will be changed and that people are paying attention to it. But for now, you better make damn sure that if you get a biometrics appointment, that you don’t miss it. And you should be very worried that if you do miss it, and you aren’t able to notify them ahead of time, that you are putting yourself at risk and your case might be denied. So, that’s the latest. I wanted to get this out to you as soon as possible. If you have questions about this or if you need help rescheduling your biometrics, or if your case has been denied and you want to challenge this new rule, we’d be up for a good fight. Give us a call, (314) 961-8200. Email us, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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