The Ombudsman learned that challenges in the current waiver process oftentimes discourage applicants, many pro se, from applying. Immigration practitioners are often reluctant to advise their clients to enter into the waiver process as well.
Impact on the Public
Since the early days of immigration law in this nation, the United States has provided a form of relief to otherwise ineligible individuals seeking to immigrate to the United States. Individuals seeking to overcome inadmissibilities may do so by filing Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility. The Ombudsman learned that challenges in the current waiver process oftentimes discourage applicants, many pro se, from applying. As well, immigration practitioners are often reluctant to advise their clients to enter into the waiver process. Supporting feedback from the public, the Ombudsman recommends specific actions that USCIS can take to improve the Processing of Waivers of Inadmissibility.
On June 10, 2010, the Ombudsman recommended that USCIS:
- Centralize the I-601 adjudication process;
- Allow applicants to concurrently file Form I-601 and Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative;
- Prioritize the finalization of the USCIS overseas case management system (currently in development) in order to provide for accurate statistical reporting of Forms I-601, allowing for posted processing times, and enabling I-601 applications processed at Ciudad Juarez (CDJ) to be tracked via the case status online feature on the USCIS website;
- Publish clear filing instructions to guide customers in need of expedited Form I-601 processing;
- Increase coordination between DOS consular officers and USCIS adjudicators at CDJ who work with Form I-601; and
- Allow USCIS employees to request digitized Alien Files upon receipt of interview schedules, amending CDJ’s current office policy.