The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently issued a notice requesting input from the public on how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can reduce administrative and other barriers/ burdens.
Here’s everything you need to know in this regard.
In President Biden’s Executive Order (E.O.) 14012, issued on February 2, 2021, entitled “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans”, the objectives focus on:
- encouraging “full participation by immigrants”
- directing responsible Federal agencies to identify strategies that promote “integration, inclusion, and citizenship”
- identifying barriers that impede access to immigration benefits, and
- fair, efficient adjudications of these benefits.
DHS is asking public input to better comprehend and recognize administrative barriers and burdens (including paperwork requirements, waiting time, and other obstacles) that impair the functions of the USCIS process and needlessly impede access to USCIS immigration benefits. This is done to achieve the above-said objectives with the help of which DHS will be enabled to initiate strategic plans, consider reforms, and execute reports according to President Biden's requests of DHS delineated in E.O. 14012.
This effort will help DHS identify process improvements for USCIS, thereby benefit the state, local, and tribal governments, businesses (including small businesses and startups), educational institutions of all kinds, nonprofits, and individuals. However, it is made clear that the “comments submitted in response to this notice will not be considered as petitions for rulemaking submitted under 5 U.S.C. 553(e) unless they comply with DHS regulations at 6 CFR part 3, Petitions for Rulemaking”.
List of Questions for Commenters
Some of the important questions that form a part of the list of questions that help the public in formulating comments are as follows:
- Are there any regulations; policies; precedents or adopted decisions; adjudicatory practices; forms, form instructions, or information collections; or other USCIS procedures or requirements that you consider to be unjustified or excessive barriers that impede easy access to legally authorized immigration benefits and fair, efficient adjudications of these benefits?
Commenters are asked to provide specific examples identifying the specific program or subject matter. Also, mention if the regulations/ policies/ forms or other USCIS procedures or requirements that you have identified as potential barriers, are the ones you perceive to have been created by duplication, overlap, or inconsistency of requirements.
- Are there any USCIS regulations or processes that are not tailored to impose the least burden on society, consistent with achieving the regulatory objectives?
- Are there any USCIS regulations or processes that disproportionally burden disadvantaged, vulnerable, or marginalized communities?
- Are there any USCIS regulations or processes that disproportionally burden a specific industry or sector of the economy, geographic location within the US, or government type?
- What aspects of the immigrant and nonimmigrant perspectives or experiences should USCIS be aware of that could better inform their qualitative and quantitative analyses when identifying actually or potentially excessive administrative burdens, or when evaluating regulatory impacts in general?
- Are there any existing sources of data that USCIS can use to evaluate the post-promulgation effects of regulations and administrative burdens over time?
- Are there any instances where current regulations may have added unintended or unanticipated costs, or imposed unintended or unanticipated administrative barriers, and in which those costs and barriers may not have been adequately considered in previous assessments of the regulation's direct costs?
- Is there any information you believe USCIS currently collects that it does not need or that USCIS does not use effectively to achieve regulatory objectives?
- Are there any regulations or forms that have been overtaken by technological developments or that should be amended as part of USCIS's eProcessing initiative?
- Are there any new technologies that USCIS should consider leveraging to modify, streamline, or do away with existing regulatory or form requirements?
The comments are requested on or before May 19, 2021.
You may submit comments, identified by docket number USCIS-2021-0004, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Please follow the instructions put forth by DHS before submitting your comments.