ILRC Opposes USCIS’s Changes to the Policy Manual on Discretion

Policy Advocacy
U Visa/T Visa/VAWA
Publication Date

On August 13, 2020, ILRC submitted comments on recent changes to USCIS’s policy manual. The new chapters on discretion will radically alter adjudications of  a wide variety of applications for immigration benefits. We recommend that the changes be stricken because they are ultra vires, lack legal support, and will exacerbate USCIS’s current crisis. The policy manual changes compound agency inefficiency, waste, and mismanagement at a time when the agency has crisis-level backlogs and is seeking a bailout from Congress. Instead of looking for ways to streamline adjudications, the policy manual imposes a secondary adjudication process on dozens of application types that will require adjudicators to multiply the amount of time that they spend determining eligibility, a move that will  grind adjudications to an even slower pace  and deny applicants relief for which they would otherwise be eligible.