Sending Office: Honorable Frank Pallone, Jr.
Oppose USCIS Effort to Change Casework Rules Without Congressional Consultation
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently sent out a notice to all Congressional offices announcing changes in the privacy release requirements for Congressional casework inquiries. These procedural changes would impede caseworker capacity
to assist constituents with immigration issues. According to the announcement, an inquiry will only be reviewed by USCIS after February 15 if it:
- “Contains a handwritten and notarized signature or signature made under penalty of perjury by the subject of the records, even if outside the United States. (Digital signatures are not acceptable.)
- Names only the congressional office as the authorized recipient.
- Includes a full translation of any non-English text, as well as the translator’s certification of competence to translate from the foreign language into English.
- Is newly signed and dated for a follow-up question or status update request after the initial/previous inquiry received a meaningful and accurate response and has been closed for 30 days.”
USCIS has claimed these changes will “help both USCIS and Congress handle inquiries in a more efficient and effective manner.” It also said that it had been working for the last three years to determine new procedures that would “provide better and more
consistent guidance on privacy release requirements and the congressional inquiry process in general,” including with congressional staff. However, we have not found any evidence that shows congressional staff were consulted in any substantive way in the creation
of these new procedures.
Please join us in sending a letter to the Office of Legislative Affairs in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), urging that it delay any planned updates to the privacy release requirements for Congressional casework inquiries until it consults
with Congress. Letter text forthcoming. To join, please contact James Johnson at
James.Johnson@mail.house.gov or 202.225.4671.
FRANK PALLONE, JR.
Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0