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Immigration Law

Excerpts from the Dec. 1, 2012, Bender's Immigration Bulletin

F and M Students: MAVNI

Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest allows certain noncitizens who are legally present in the United States to join the U.S. military and apply immediately for U.S. citizenship using Form N-400 without first obtaining lawful permanent resident status. The program is available to legal aliens holding critical skills such as physicians, nurses, and experts in certain languages with associated cultural backgrounds. F and M students who meet the requirements may apply for MAVNI. Immigration and Customs Enforcement developed a guide to assist Designated School Officials helping students make the transition from F or M student to naturalization applicant. The Guide is reprinted at Appendix A.

DACA Update

USCIS released data on DACA cases received between August 15 and November 15, 2012. During that timeframe, USCIS:

  • received 308,935 applications
  • accepted 298,834 cases for processing
  • scheduled 273,203biometric services appointments
  • has 124,572 requests under review, and
  • approved 53,273 cases.

There have been no denials at this time. According to Director Alejandro Mayorkas (Stakeholder Teleconference held on November 19, 2012), it is too early in the program for a denial to have occurred. If issues arise during the agency's review, the first step is the issuance of a Request for Evidence, which allows the applicant eighty-four days to respond. If the response in inadequate, the agency issues a Notice of Intent to Deny, which allows another thirty days.

USCIS has posted DACA instructions in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Tagalog on its website.

Change in Witness Video Testimony

The Executive Office for Immigration Review Office of the Chief Immigration Judge's Immigration Court Practice Manual has been updated. While most 2012 amendments to the Manual concerned the relocation or opening of immigration courts, the most recent amendment is a modification of the provision governing the presentation of witness video testimony. Previously, motions for video testimony could be made in writing or orally at the master calendar hearing. As of November 7, 2012, such motions must be made in writing. The online Practice Manual may be found at > Statistics and Publications > Manuals/Instructions or at > Immigration > Find Administrative Materials > Immigration Law and Procedure - Agency Manuals > PS09 Agency Manuals.

USCIS: Hurricane Sandy Delays

USCIS posted a reminder of Temporary Relief Measures for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The reminder is available at > News >Alerts > November 2012. Among other specified relief, USCIS states that where appropriate, it may exercise its discretion to allow for filing delays, including:

  • Assistance to those who have not appeared for an interview or submitted required forms of evidence. You may show how the disrupting event affected your connection to USCIS and your ability to appear or submit documents as required; and
  • Assistance to those who have not been able to respond to Requests for Evidence or Notices of Intent to Deny. USCIS will extend the deadline for individuals to respond to RFEs or NOIDs by thirty days. This will apply to all RFEs and NOIDs with a deadline of October 26 through November 26, 2012. During this time, USCIS will not issue denials based on abandonment of an application or petition.

Bender's Immigration Bulletin

[This is an excerpt from the Dec. 1, 2012, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.] 

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