Outright denials for missing information or documents

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WHEN a person files a petition or application, certain information and documents are required as part of the filing.  For example, if a person is being petitioned by a spouse, a required document would be a marriage contract.  If a required document is missing, the petition or application may be denied.

Petitions and applications have a list of documents that should be submitted along with the case.  In the past, if information or documents were missing, the USCIS would serve a Request for Evidence (RFE), for the missing documents or information, and would give the person approximately 84 days to respond.  However, it seems USCIS is no longer bothering with serving RFE’s, but instead is immediately denying the case.  This could have devastating effects for people, because in some cases, USCIS may also issue a Notice to Appear (NTA) placing the person in removal proceedings because of the denial of their case.

In one case, a U.S. citizen petitioned his spouse and concurrently filed for her adjustment of status.  However, he neglected or overlooked that he needed to submit an affidavit of support.  Rather than serving an RFE for the missing affidavit of support, USCIS  denied the case outright.  Now, the petitioner would either have to seek reconsideration or file a whole new case.

In a different case, the beneficiary had committed fraud, but did not submit a fraud waiver in the initial filing.  Again, no RFE, but instead an outright denial. 

In yet another case, a birth certificate was not included, and the case was denied without an RFE. 

I know people want to save money on attorney fees by doing it themselves.  They think their case is simple and straightforward, so why do they need an attorney?  But in this age of Trump, where USCIS seems to look for ways to deny cases, rather than approve them, it is like walking through a minefield or lion’s den when pursuing immigration benefits.

While hiring an attorney does not absolutely “guarantee” success or approval (in fact attorneys are prohibited by law from guaranteeing results), I believe the chances of success are greatly improved when a person retains an attorney to assist them.  This is because the attorney knows what supporting documents should be submitted when filing the case, can evaluate potential issues or problems and address those issues or concerns, etc.  Moreover, with USCIS issuing outright denials and NTA’s without providing an opportunity to submit documentation, a person could find themselves in deportation for something as minor as forgetting to include a birth certificate or marriage contract.

Your immigration case (and your future in America) are not something where you should try to cut corners or save money by trying to do it yourself.  Pres. Trump has made obtaining immigration benefits much more difficult and riskier, such that legal representation could greatly increase your chances for success.

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Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 35 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories”, endorsements and re-enactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.

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Atty. Michael Gurfinkel
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