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Ombudsman Recommendation: Recommendations on USCIS Deferred Action Processing

For decades, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), followed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has used deferred action to provide limited relief to foreign nationals who do not qualify for other immigration benefits that are typically available to individuals in exigent circumstances. Customers expressed concerns to the Ombudsman’s Office regarding long pending deferred action requests with USCIS and consistency with the way those requests were processed at local USCIS offices. Supported by feedback from the public, the Ombudsman recommends specific action that USCIS can take to improve the transparency and consistency of deferred action processing.

Read the full Recommendation, (PDF, 8 pages - 205 KB)


On July 11, 2011, the Ombudsman's Office recommends that USCIS take the following actions to improve the processing of requests for deferred action:

  1. Issue public information describing deferred action and the procedures for making a request for this temporary form of relief with USCIS;
  2. Establish internal procedures for accepting and processing deferred action requests in order to promote consistency and assist local offices in responding to urgent, periodic increases in the demand for deferred action;
  3. Inventory all pending deferred action requests to verify that each request received a confirmation of receipt with estimated processing timeframes and USCIS contact information; and
  4. Consistently track data related to deferred action requests and make available statistics identifying the number of requests received and the numbers of requests approved and denied.

In the recommendation, the Ombudsman identifies several ways to implement these recommendations that build upon existing USCIS processes.


Read the USCIS Response issued on October 27, 2011 (PDF, 2 pages - 69 KB)

Last Published Date: September 23, 2019

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