Hassan Ahmad Profile picture
Jul 16, 2018 15 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Last week, USCIS issued two new memos that are going to affect *all* immigration applications. That includes green cards, fiancé visas, H-1B's, citizenship, work permits, extensions and changes of status - the whole nine yards.
The first memo says that if an application is denied, and that denial leaves the applicant without lawful immigration status, the applicant will be placed in removal proceedings (deportation.)

The second memo says that if an application is filed incompletely, without certain required evidence, then USCIS has the right to deny the application *without* requesting further evidence (commonly known as an "RFE.")

Read together, this means one thing: You better get it right the first time. Otherwise, you might find yourself standing before a judge who, because of other decisions also made this year, is powerless to put your case on hold while you try to fix the problem with USCIS.
As an immigration and citizenship lawyer, this effectively means the system just got a lot more unforgiving. Even a simple, straightforward application, one that might be considered "routine" - can no longer be so considered.
This is what happens when immigration hardliners are elected into office, and allowed to appoint other immigration hardliners into supervisory positions. First, it was CBP, then ICE. Now USCIS officers have been given free reign over applications.

The stated reason is to discourage frivolous, placeholder filings. But in practice, it's hard to imagine how an officer will know. More mistakes will be punished, and then the rest of the immigration system (ICE, ERO, the courts) will suck up the trapped people and chew them up.
How to fight this nonsense?

1. Get the right advice, at the right time. It's never been more important. Things are different now.
2. This is a time for our elected officials to really hold USCIS's feet to the fire. Highlight those Congressmen who use their position to fight for their future constituents through their immigration liaison services, to convince USCIS to take back an improper denial.
3. We need a legislative fix. There are already penalties for filing a frivolous application. If an applicant doesn't get it right the first time, it does NOT mean they are not eligible for the benefit. This is the law, and attempts to comply with it should not be punished.
4. Know where these policies are coming from. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and its spinoff "think tank" Center for Immigration Studies (CIS, not to be confused with USCIS) have been peddling restrictionist and nativist rhetoric for decades.
CIS director Mark Krikorian confirmed that the Trump Administration’s harsh immigration principles were developed with the help of CIS’s 2016 report "A Pen and a Phone: 79 immigration actions the next president can take."

Here's Krikorian asking for money on #GivingTuesday due to his group's success in advocating killing programs like #DACA:

This is why I am suing to unseal the papers of FAIR's founder, Dr. John Tanton. We need to know where these policies were born.) It's time to cut off the hate at the source.

And to understand the fortune that has gone into these efforts over the decades:


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More from @HMAesq

Oct 4, 2018
@FAIRImmigration, founded by Dr. John Tanton, is a mouthpiece of white nationalist rhetoric. But it's more than that: it injects its foul ideology into actual policy.

One (latest) example: Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. Read what a federal judge found:

On p29 of the decision, the Court gives yet another example of Acting Secy Elaine Duke, who is supposed to make a dispassionate assessment of conditions on the ground in determining TPS eligibility, said "this conclusion [to end TPS] is the result of an America first view..."
Curious, because America was founded on ideals of welcoming the forcibly displaced. I'm not sure what "American first" has to do with terminating TPS.

If the White House is influencing the decision, we have a problem, because the White House has made A LOT of racist statements.
Read 13 tweets
Sep 28, 2018
Feeling drained after the #KavanaughHearings? I've been thinking about why. Objectively, there are far worse injustices going on even as Kavanaugh spoke.

Sure, there's the out of sight out of mind factor. Most injustice goes unreported; yesterday's hearing was not that.
But there was something distinctive about the hearing. It was a rare exposure of several different vectors of underreported injustice, concentrated into one episode.
We hear stories of sexual assault all the time. Or oppression. Abuser protection. Entitlement. Privilege. Character assassination. Lip service to the oppressed. Trauma. Legalized discrimination.

Rarely do we get to see it all in one day, before hundreds of millions of people
Read 10 tweets
Sep 25, 2018
This administration continues to target aspiring American communities, one by one. DACA revocation, TPS de-designation, changing asylum laws, the Muslim Ban...

What about Indians?... qz.com/india/1400398/…
Once again, the administration regurgitates rhetoric spewed by nativists, and with H-4 work permit revocation, they get an added "bonus" - getting to undo something Obama put in place. Yes, this is what they base their policies on.
But I also wanted to say something about the new public charge rule that greatly expands ineligibility grounds for green cards, which will also play into this attack on the Indian-American community.

This is an attempt to backdoor the RAISE Act into law.
Read 6 tweets
Sep 24, 2018
Well this is curious. Apparently @FAIRImmigration believes I am a paid operative of "state-owned propaganda outlet" @ajplus to meddle in 2018 midterm elections.

Why? For this video I did calling FAIR out as driven by white nationalism:

I'm paid? News to my wallet; I thought I was just doing a public service.

Here's FAIR's press release:

They accuse me of "spreading malicious disinformation in what is a clear attempt to influence the upcoming midterm election." I'm flattered they think so highly of me.

Entirely different, of course, from FAIR's statements influencing lawmakers here:

Read 11 tweets
Sep 24, 2018
There already is a wall, folks.

More effective than any physical barrier on the southern border. Keeps people out before they can even begin their journey.

You can't fly over it or tunnel underneath it. You can't sneak around it, either. And it's much, much harder to tear down.
It's the combined bureaucracy of several different agencies that keeps people out. Physical barriers are a small slice of the pie of exclusion.

But with due process, there is sometimes a way through. Perfectly legal, not unlike carving out a nice little door for yourself.
Today, a green card for our North African client was approved after a 4 year delay. He had been apart from his US citizen wife since 2013, and even though they followed the law to the T, repeatedly told they just needed "one more thing," the visa remained stuck.
Read 6 tweets
Sep 22, 2018
It's Saturday, but there's no day off of this administration's oppression of aspiring Americans... especially the poor.

Most immigrants have always had to prove they're not a public charge: it's been the law for over 100 years.
But the administration now wants to greatly expand what a public charge is...meaning the types of public funds an aspiring American can lawfully use.

And also be able to deny green cards based on an officer's belief of an immigrant's likelihood at becoming a public charge.
I gave this example in a piece I wrote for @qz:
Read 11 tweets

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