[pdf] I-134-Form-Instructions (+)

These instruction are for the Forn-134 Affidavit of Support. After December 19, 1997 this form can no longer be used by U.S. Citizens or lawful permanent residents sponsoring family members for lawful permanent residency and form I-864 must be used for this purpose. The I-134 continues to be available for limited purposes which include use by an immigrant who needs a sponsor in order to avoid being found inadmissible to the United States on public charge grounds. It is also important to note that the form I-134 was used by citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor spouses and children prior to December 19, 1997 after which the Form I-864 was required instead of the I-134. Thus, judges and family lawyers who encounter affidavits of support in divorce cases will see I-134 Affidavits of support in cases involving marriages prior to December 1997. Comparing this instruction form with the instructions for form I-864 will provide useful information for Affidavit of Support enforcement purposes and evidentiary purposes in spousal and child support cases.

[pdf] Federal Register: New Classification for Victims of Criminal Activity for Eligibility for ‘‘U’’ Nonimmigrant Status (U Visa Regulations) (September 17, 2007) (+)

Federal Register for new classification for victims of criminal activity for the eligibility for ‘‘U’’ nonimmigrant status. This interim rule amends Department of Homeland Security regulations to establish the requirements and procedures for aliens seeking U nonimmigrant status. The U nonimmigrant classification is available to alien victims of certain criminal activity who assist government officials in investigating or prosecuting such criminal activity.

[pdf] Classification for Victims of Severe Forms of Trafficking in Persons; Eligibility for ‘‘T’’ Nonimmigrant Status (T Visa Final Rule April 30, 2024) (+)

Final T Visa regulations issued by the USCIS on April 30, 2024 that go into effect on August 28, 2024. T Visa Rule highlights include: New Bona Fide Determination process leading to
Stays removal, benefits access, and work authorization. Victims should submit any additional needed evidence 8/28/24. Provides VAWA confidentiality protections and exempts from T visa applicants from Public Charge. Includes trauma informed definitions of: Coercion, commercial sex act, involuntary servitude, serious harm, trauma exception, and extreme hardship.
Detailed list of factors used to examine whether requests from government officials for cooperation or assistance in the detection, investigation or prosecution of human trafficking were reasonable. Exempts both labor and sex trafficked minors from any cooperation requirements. Includes a broad interpretation of when the victim’s physical presence in the U.S. is connected to human trafficking.

[pdf] USCIS Updates Policy Guidance on Self-Selecting a Gender Marker on Forms and Documents (March 31, 2023) (+)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is updating policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify that, effective immediately, USCIS will accept the self-identified gender marker for individuals requesting immigration benefits. The gender marker they select does not need to match the gender marker indicated on their supporting documentation.

[pdf] USCIS Citizenship for Adopted Children (April 21, 2023) (+)

Under U.S. laws, children may obtain U.S. citizenship other than through birth in the United States.1 In general, persons born outside of the United States, including adopted children, may obtain U.S. citizenship after birth, before the age of 18, through a U.S. citizen parent. Some children immigrating based on adoption automatically acquire U.S. citizenship upon their admission to the United States as lawful permanent residents. Others do not, and their adoptive parents need to take additional steps before an adopted child turns 18 years of age for the child to obtain U.S. citizenship through the adoptive parent(s). Adoptees who do not obtain citizenship through their adoptive parents before turning 18 may be eligible to apply for naturalization after the age of 18. USCIS issued new policies clarifying guidance on citizenship and naturalization policy for adopted foreign born children.

[pdf] USCIS Bona Fide Determination Process for Qualifying Family Members of U Nonimmigrant Victims of Qualifying Crimes (August 11, 2023) (+)

USCIS issues updates to the USCIS Policy Manual to facilitate adjudication and issuance of bona fide determinations for qualifying family members of U visa applicants living in the U.S. at the same time the as USCIS issues a bona fide determination to the U visa applicant.

[pdf] USCIS Opens the Humanitarian, Adjustment, Removing Conditions and Travel Documents (HART) Service Center (March 30, 2023) (+)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is announcing the opening of the Humanitarian, Adjustment, Removing Conditions, and Travel Documents (HART) Service Center, the sixth service center within its Service Center Operations (SCOPS) directorate, and the first to focus on humanitarian and other workload cases. The cases HART opened with adjudicating are: VAWA self-petitions (I-360), U visa bona fide determinations (I-918), Relative Petition for Asylees and Refugees (I-730) and Applications for waivers of reentry bars for immigrant spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

[pdf] USCIS and State Department: Intercountry Adoption Process Flow Chart of Key Steps (June 6, 2023) (+)

USCIS and the U.S. State Department developed this tool to assist judges and attorneys in the U.S. to better understand the intercountry adoption process for foreign born children from Hague Convention and non-Hague Convention countries. This tools helps ensure that the proper steps are followed so that the adopted child obtains a visa providing them legal immigration status and a path to naturalized citizenship.

[pdf] USCIS Fact Sheet: Adoption in U.S. Courts of Children from Hague Adoption Convention Countries (June 6, 2023) (+)

Foreign-born children in the United States who are adopted in a U.S. court may face immigration-related implications. Adoption alone does not give a child lawful immigration status. This fact sheet reviews the immigration implications for children from Hague Adoption Convention (“Convention” or “Hague”) countries who did not immigrate to the United States through the U.S. Convention process and are undergoing U.S. adoption proceedings.

[pdf] USCIS Policy Update: VAWA Confidentiality and Safe Address for Survivor-Based Petitions (April 11, 2023) (+)

In alignment with VAWA confidentiality and a victim centered approach, the new policy reiterates and heightens these protection measures by providing clear guidance for safe mailing address procedures, requiring officers to carefully review documents before determining where to send notices and secure identity documents, and ensures that officers cannot make adverse case determinations based solely on information provided by prohibited source even if adjudicating non-victim-based applications or petitions.

[pdf] USCIS Form i-485 Instructions (December 23, 2022) (+)

Form I-485 application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residency instructions. Includes details about applying for lawful permanent residency as a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioner, VAWA Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (VAWA HRIFA), and VAWA Cuban Adjustment Act (VAWA CAA) applicants.

[pdf] ICE Memorandum: Detention Policy Where an Immigration Judge Has Granted Asylum and ICE Has Appealed (Feb. 9, 2004) (+)

This memorandum reiterated that ICE favors release in general for immigrants granted protections by immigration judges. It also instructs that bond should be reviewed after granting asylum for the asylee to be released in accordance with ICE policies. Arriving immigrants should be considered for parole. This memorandum is cited in the Doyle Memorandum ICE Guidance […]

[pdf] Appendix D1 – USCIS SIJS Policy Manual Full – Vol 6 (October 7, 2022) (+)

This Appendix explains the purpose, background and eligibility requirements of SIJS. It discusses documentation, evidence, adjudication, appeals, motions to reopen, and motions to reconsider, and finally Data about SIJS.

This publication was developed under grant number SJI-20-E-005 from the State Justice Institute. The points of view expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the State Justice Institute.

[pdf] DHS Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility – Final Rule (September 9, 2022) (+)

This Federal Register publication (87 Fed. Reg. 55472 September 9, 2022) contains the final public charge rule and its regulatory history. This public charge rule was issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and provides clarity and consistency for noncitizens on how DHS will administer the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The rule restores the historical understanding of a ‘public charge’ that had been in place for decades confirming that receipt of public health benefits such as Medicaid and nutritional assistance are not part of the public charge inadmissibility determination.

Under this rule, as under the 1999 Interim Field Guidance that was in place for most of the past two decades, a noncitizen would be considered likely to become a public charge if DHS determines that they are likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. This determination will be based on:
• The noncitizen’s “age; health; family status; assets, resources, and financial status; and education and skills,” as required by the INA;
• The filing of Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, submitted on a noncitizen’s behalf when one is required; and
• The noncitizen’s prior or current receipt of Supplemental Security Income (SSI); cash assistance for income maintenance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); State, Tribal, territorial, or local cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called “General Assistance”); or long-term institutionalization at government expense.

DHS will not consider in public charge determinations benefits received by family members other than the applicant. DHS will also not consider receipt of certain non-cash benefits for which noncitizens may be eligible. These benefits include: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or other nutrition programs, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid (other than for long-term institutionalization), housing benefits, any benefits related to immunizations or testing for communicable diseases, or other supplemental or special-purpose benefits.

[pdf] DHS Publishes Fair and Humane Public Charge Rule (September 8, 2022) (+)

Press release on the 2022 final public charge rule issued by USCIS. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a final public charge rule that provides clarity and consistency for noncitizens on how DHS will administer the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The rule restores the historical understanding of a ‘public charge’ that had been in place for decades confirming that receipt of public health benefits such as Medicaid and nutritional assistance are not part of the public charge inadmissibility determination.

Under this rule, as under the 1999 Interim Field Guidance that was in place for most of the past two decades, a noncitizen would be considered likely to become a public charge if DHS determines that they are likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. This determination will be based on:
• The noncitizen’s “age; health; family status; assets, resources, and financial status; and education and skills,” as required by the INA;
• The filing of Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, submitted on a noncitizen’s behalf when one is required; and
• The noncitizen’s prior or current receipt of Supplemental Security Income (SSI); cash assistance for income maintenance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); State, Tribal, territorial, or local cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called “General Assistance”); or long-term institutionalization at government expense.

DHS will not consider in public charge determinations benefits received by family members other than the applicant. DHS will also not consider receipt of certain non-cash benefits for which noncitizens may be eligible. These benefits include: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or other nutrition programs, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid (other than for long-term institutionalization), housing benefits, any benefits related to immunizations or testing for communicable diseases, or other supplemental or special-purpose benefits.

[pdf] USCIS Naturalization for Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJS) (September 21, 2022) (+)

Fact Sheet developed by USCIS describing the benefits and process for immigrant children who were victims of abuse, abandonment, neglect or similar harm perpetrated by at least one of the child’s parents who were granted Special Immigrant Juvenile Status by USCIS and gained lawful permanent residency through the SIJS program.

[pdf] USCIS Naturalization for Lawful Permanent Residents Who Had T or U Nonimmigrant Status (September 21, 2022) (+)

Fact Sheet developed by USCIS describing the benefits and process for immigrant victims of trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or other criminal activities who were granted T or U visas and obtained lawful permanent residency through the T visa or U visa programs.

[pdf] USCIS Naturalization for VAWA Lawful Permanent Residents (September 21, 2022) (+)

Fact Sheet developed by USCIS describing the benefits and process for abused immigrant spouses, children and parents who obtained lawful permanent residency through forms of Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) immigration relief.

[pdf] Administrative Appeals Office Non-Precedent Decision In Re: 12890448 (September 14, 2021) (+)

USCIS AAO non precedent decision granting SIJS child who was abandoned and neglected by her father who did not support her and who was residing with her non-abusive mother in Texas at the time of the state court order. To qualify for SIJS a child need only be abused, abandoned or neglected by one parent and can be living with the non-abusive parent. Where the Texas court applied Texas child welfare laws to deny the father access to the child such a determination is sufficient to support the court’s determination that reunification with the father was not viable and the child was eligible for SIJS. The state court need only conduct an individualized assessment under state law for SIJS findings to be sufficient for SIJS purposes.

[pdf] Administrative Appeals Office Non-Precedent Decision In Re: 13258676 (November 24, 2021) (+)

Non-precedent decision for the USCIS AAO granting SIJS to an over 18 year old minor in Texas where the state court had continuing jurisdiction to issue SIJS findings because the state court retained jurisdiction under Texas law in a case in which an abusive mother was ordered to pay child support and under state law the child support order gave the Texas court continuing jurisdiction over the abused child after they turned 18. The court’s jurisdiction was for the purpose of remedying child abuse and providing the child abuse victim support so SIJS findings issues in the child support case under Texas law were not for the sole purpose of SIJS immigration relief.

[pdf] USCIS Policy Alert – Policy Manual Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Adjustment of Status (June 10, 2022) (+)

USCIS policy alert discussing updates to the SIJS policy manual. Highlights include:

• Confirms that USCIS relies on the expertise of the juvenile court in making child welfare decisions and does not reweigh the evidence to determine if the child was subjected to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis under state law.
• Clarifies that in order to consent to the grant of SIJ classification, USCIS must review the juvenile court order(s) and any supplemental evidence submitted by the petitioner to conclude that the request for SIJ classification is bona fide.
• Explains that the evidentiary requirements for DHS consent include the factual basis for the required juvenile court determinations, as well as the relief from parental abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis under state law granted or recognized by the juvenile court.
• Provides that relief from parental maltreatment may include the court-ordered custodial placement, the court-ordered dependency on the court for the provision of child welfare services, and/or other court-ordered or court-recognized protective or remedial relief.
• Explains that the evidentiary requirements for establishing the age of an SIJ petitioner include a petitioner’s valid birth certificate, official government-issued identification, or any other document that in USCIS’ discretion establishes the petitioner’s age, which may include affidavits or secondary evidence of age.
• Removes marriage as a basis for automatic revocation of the petition for SIJ classification.

[pdf] Mayorkas Memorandum: Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law (+)

This memorandum outlines three priorities for civil immigration enforcement: threats to (1) national security, (2) public safety, and (3) border security. It also emphasizes a wholistic approach when reviewing a noncitizen’s criminal and administrative record to learn of the totality of the facts and circumstances. The memorandum concludes by highlighting the importance of preserving civil […]

[pdf] Doyle Memorandum ICE Guidance to OPLA Attorneys (April 3, 2022) (+)

This memorandum further elaborates on the definition of the three enforcement priorities for Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) attorneys outlined in the Mayorkas Memorandum. These enforcement priorities include: threat to national security, threat to public safety, and threat to border security. This memo also informs OPLA attorneys on procedures for implementing and documenting […]

[pdf] USCIS: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Classification and Deferred Action (March 7, 2022) (+)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating the USCIS Policy Manual to consider deferred action (and related employment authorization) for noncitizens with approved Special Immigrant Juveniles Status (SIJS) cases who are ineligible to apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status solely due to visa unavailability.

[pdf] USCIS Policy Manual Updates: T Visa Status for Victims of Severe Forms of Trafficking in Persons (October 20, 2021) (+)

Policy Alert describing updates to the T visa section of the USCIS policy manual. Volume 3: Humanitarian Protection and Parole, Part B, Victims of Trafficking https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-3-part-b and Volume 9: Waivers and Other Forms of Relief, Part O, Victims of Trafficking https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-9-part-o

[pdf] DHS Takes Victim-Centered Approach Press Release (October 20, 2021) (+)

Press release describing the role all components of DHS have been directed to take to ensure that immigrant victims are treated by DHS officials in a manner that takes a victim centered approach. Describing how this approach both meets the humanitarian needs of victims and helps DHS play a role in fighting crime.

[pdf] Automatic Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Extension (May 4, 2022) (+)

Polices governing automatic extension of work authorization (EAD) for the immigrants and applicants with the follow types of immigration cases. The letters and numbers will be on the immigrants work authorization card: refugees (a)(3); asylees (a)(5); N-8 or N-9 visa holders (brothers, sisters, children and parents of NATO employees) (a)(7); Citizen of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau (a)(8); granted withholding of deportation or removal (a)(10); Temporary Protected Status (TPS)(a)(12); Spouse of E visa holder (a)(17); L-2 spouse of L-1 visa holder (a)(18); pending asylum application (c)(8); pending lawful permanent residency (adjustment) application (c)(9); applicants for suspension of deportation, cancellation of removal or special rule NACARA cancellation (c)(10); adjustment based on continuous residency since 1972 (c)(16); applicants prima facie eligible for TPS (c)(19); pending I-700 legalization (c)(20); pending I-687 legalization (c)(22); LIFE legalization (c)(24); H-4 spouses of H-1B visa holder (c)(26); and VAWA self-petitioners (c)(31).

[pdf] DHS Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) Complaint Instructions for Violation Investigations (2021) (+)

Information about VAWA confidentiality provisions at the Department of Homeland Security and instructions for reporting a violation. Updated on 12/12/2021. For previous information about VAWA confidentiality complaints go to https://niwaplibrary.wcl.american.edu/pubs/conf-vawa-gov-dhscomplaintinstrts-2008

[pdf] Instructions for Request for a Fee Waiver (I-912) (September 03, 2021) (+)

USCIS Form to be used for waivers in cases of immigrant survivors:
1. Battered spouses of A, G, E-3, or H nonimmigrants (such as Forms I-485, I-601 and I-212);
2. Battered spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen under INA section 240A(b)(2);
3. T nonimmigrant (such as Forms I-192, I-485, and I-601);
4. Temporary Protected Status (such as Forms I-131, I-821 and I-601);
5. U nonimmigrant (such as Forms I-192, I-485, and I-929); or
6. VAWA self–petitioner (such as Forms I-485, I-601 and I-212).

[pdf] U Visa Law Enforcement Resource Guide (February 28, 2022) (+)

U Visa Law Enforcement Resource Guide for Certifying Agencies including Judges, law enforcement, prosecutors, Child and Adult protective services, federal and state Departments of Labor and other state, local and federal government agencies.
USCIS, the federal agency tasked with the adjudication of U visa petitions, announces today the publication of an updated U Visa Law Enforcement Resource Guide. This guide provides certifying officials, including law enforcement, with best practices for the U visa certification process, emphasizes that completing the Supplement B is consistent with a victim-centered approach, and clarifies the roles and responsibilities of certifying agencies in the U visa program.
Highlights of the guide include:
• The U visa law enforcement certification process;
• Best practices for certifying agencies;
• U Visa Quick Reference Guide;
• Outline of the U visa adjudication process;
• Responses to frequently asked questions; and
• Additional resources for certifying agencies and officials, including information for other DHS personnel on U visas.

[pdf] Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) Regulations Final Rule Federal Register (March 8, 2022) (+)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published final rule governing Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases, filings, adjudications and access to lawful permanent residency for SIJS children. These rules incorporate statutory changes made since issuance of the prior rule and clarify eligibility requirements. Incorporates statutory amendments from The Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994, Pub. L. 103-416, 108 Stat. 4319 (Jan. 25, 1994); The Departments of
Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1998 (CJS 1998 Appropriations Act), Pub. L. 105-119, 111 Stat. 2440 (Nov. 26, 1997); The Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act
of 2005 (VAWA 2005), Pub. L. 109-162, 119 Stat. 2960 (Jan. 5, 2006); and The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA 2008), Pub. L. 110-457, 112 Stat. 5044 (Dec. 23, 2008).

[pdf] USCIS VAWA Self-Petitions Policy Manual (February 10, 2022) (+)

USCIS published this policy guidance governing VAWA self-petition adjudications. This is a pdf word searchable download of the full VAWA self-petitioning chapter of the policy manual with all of its subparts. This version is current as of February 10, 2022. For the most up-to-date version and working hyperlinks see the on-line version at https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-3-part-d

[pdf] DHS Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking (January 25, 2022) (+)

This fact sheet was released together with the Statement from Secretary Mayorkas on National Human Trafficking Prevention Month (2022):
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Office of Public Affairs
________________________________________
Statement from Secretary Mayorkas on National Human Trafficking Prevention Month
WASHINGTON – Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas released the following statement on National Human Trafficking Prevention Month:

“Human trafficking is an abhorrent crime that impacts an estimated 25 million people, here in the United States and abroad. Victims too often suffer in silence and perpetrators are too seldom brought to justice. National Human Trafficking Prevention Month is a time to reaffirm the Department’s commitment to seeing those victims, hearing their stories, and preventing the horrific acts of human trafficking before they occur. We will bring the full weight of the Department of Homeland Security – our resources and our dedicated personnel – to identify and protect victims and to investigate and arrest perpetrators.

“Across DHS, our tremendous professionals lead this work each day.
• The DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking leverages the resources of 16 DHS Agencies and Offices to combat both sex trafficking and forced labor.
• U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents investigate these crimes and help prosecute the perpetrators.
• The HSI Victim Assistance Program supports victims with critical emergency assistance and connects victims with non-governmental organizations that provide short- and long-term direct services.
• U.S. Customs and Border Protection investigates allegations of forced labor in U.S. supply chains and bars goods made with forced labor from entering the country.
• The Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers educates law enforcement about the indicators of trafficking and best practices for supporting victims and bringing perpetrators to justice.
• We raise awareness about these heinous crimes through our signature public awareness and education campaign, the DHS Blue Campaign, and our partnerships with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, businesses, airlines, schools, non-profits, legal organizations, and many others.
• Finally, and critically, DHS personnel are trained to recognize and report indicators of human trafficking in the course of their daily duties interacting with the public, including Transportation Security Administration officers, Federal Air Marshals, service members of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services benefits adjudicators, and more.
“Combating human trafficking is truly a whole of DHS effort.

“During this past year, HSI Special Agents made more than 2,360 human trafficking arrests, identified and assisted more than 728 trafficking victims, and issued the first-ever comprehensive Continued Presence Resource Guide. USCIS released the first-ever standalone T Visa Resource Guide for law enforcement and certifying agencies, and approved 559 T visas for victims of trafficking and 451 T visas for their qualifying family members. CBP detained and seized more than 1,550 shipments containing nearly $500 million in merchandise linked to forced labor abroad, a 900 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2020.

“Last year, I directed all DHS Agencies and Offices to incorporate a victim-centered approach into every policy, program, and activity that impacts our Department’s interactions with victims of crime. I also released a worksite enforcement strategy that focuses our enforcement efforts on unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers, including through force, fraud, or coercion. We can, must, and will do more.

“The scourge of human trafficking must be met with concerted action. This month and every month, our Department will strive to shine a light on these heinous acts, protect the dignity of survivors, and bring perpetrators of human trafficking to justice.”

To report suspected human trafficking to DHS law enforcement, contact 1-866-347-2423.

To seek help or learn more from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, contact 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).

Learn more about DHS’s efforts to combat human trafficking here: https://www.dhs.gov/topics/human-trafficking and in a new Department-wide fact sheet.

[pdf] DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking Fact Sheet (+)

The DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) works to promote counter human trafficking law enforcement operations, protect victims, and enhance prevention efforts by aligning DHS’ capabilities and expertise. This fact sheet provides a one-page resource containing information on the duties of the CCHT as well as contact information for the center.

[pdf] T Visa Law Enforcement Resource Guide (+)

This T Visa Law Enforcement Resource Guide is intended for federal, state, local, Tribal and territorial law enforcement, prosecutors, judges and other government agencies who are authorized to sign T visa declarations. This standalone resource guide on T visas for certifying agencies. It provides information on eligibility requirements for immigrant victims, best practices for certifying […]

[pdf] ICE Directive 11032.4, Identification and Monitoring of Pregnant, Postpartum, and Nursing, Individuals (July 1, 2021) (+)

ICE policy replacing prior 2017 and 2007 policies regarding detention of nursing mothers. Under this 2021 police ICE should not detain, arrest, or take into custody for an administrative violation of the immigration laws individuals known to be pregnant, postpartum, or nursing. In the very limited circumstances in which detention is necessary and appropriate, ICE must monitor individuals known to be pregnant, postpartum, or nursing detained in ICE custody for general health and well-being, including regular custody and medical reevaluation, to ensure appropriate pre- and/or post-natal and other medical and mental health care. ICE must ensure that individuals known to be pregnant, postpartum, or nursing are housed in facilities suitable for their medical and mental health needs.

[pdf] DHS Directive 002-01 Council on Combatting Violence Against Women (March 14, 2013) (+)

This directive establishes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Council on Combating Violence Against Women (“Council”) and its membership, and outlines the Council functions, coordination responsibilities, and operating procedures. Responsibilities of the Council include advancing knowledge and awareness throughout DHS about Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Trafficking Victims Protection Act and compliance with the requirements of each of these laws.

[pdf] U.S. Department of Homeland Security Memorandum Enforcement Actions in or Near Protected Areas (Oct. 27, 2021) (+)

This memorandum to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued guidelines for enforcement actions in or near protected areas. It held that enforcement actions in or near protected areas require prior agency authorization absent a narrow set of circumstances.

[pdf] Pages 76-78 FOIA Response 2017 Standard Operating Procedures for USCIS District Offices Handling of Interviews in VAWA Self-Petition Adjustments and Battered Spouse Waiver Cases (June 29. 2011) (+)

The standard operating procedure discusses how VAWA immigration cases and interviews are to be handled at USCIS District offices for Battered Spouse Waivers cases and VAWA Self-Petitions adjustment of status to lawful permanent residency.

[pdf] Pages 62-67 FOIA BSW Response RFEs and Any Credible Evidence (October 16, 2014) (+)

Memos and emails spelling out the approach to requests for further evidence that should be used by USCIS field offices in their adjudications of battered spouse waiver cases. These also address the VAWA any credible evidence rules application in battered spouse waiver cases.

[pdf] Pages 2-37 FOIA Battered Spouse Waiver Response 2017 District Office Training (2014) (+)

District field office training of officers that adjudicate interviews in VAWA self-petitioner adjustments of status to lawful permanent residency and battered spouse waiver cases. The training covers fraud detection at the VAWA Unit, VAWA confidentiality protections, VAWA unit training and data, requirements of I-485 interviews based on approved VAWA self-petitions, procedures that are to be followed if the District office wants to return a case to the VAWA Unit for revocation or further investigation, Common errors in return often stemming from District Officers following outdated regulations and not the statutory changes.

[pdf] FOIA USCIS Response to NIWAP’s FOIA on Battered Spouse Waiver Cases and Case Processing (August 25, 2017) (+)

This FOIA response discusses the application of VAWA confidentiality protections to battered spouse waiver and all VAWA cases; provides slides used to train on VAWA confidentiality and the rules that apply to district office staff adjudicating battered spouse waivers and VAWA adjustments of status applications for lawful permanent residency. These slides highlight the types of evidence that adjudicators cannot rely upon that come from the abuser under VAWA confidentiality law. It also discusses how many of the cases returned to the VAWA unit from district offices stems from reliance on regulations that were later overruled by subsequent VAWA statutes and have not been updated and highlight common returns that are errors. The training includes a copy of the 4.11.08 memo on adjustment of status for VAWA self-petitioners who are present without inspection. There are also documents discussing VAWA’s amendments designed to allow VAWA self-petitioners to remarry and the USCIS position on narrow implementation of the remarriage provisions. The materials provided in response to the FOIA provide detailed information in the form of emails, policies, and trainings warning adjudicators to not rely on perpetrator provided information in adjudicating VAWA self-petitions, adjustments or battered spouse waiver cases with good examples of the types of evidence that must be avoided, including not relying on perpetrator provided information in marriage based visa interviews. The policy discussing referrals from District offices for revocations for self-petitions is discussed. The response also included the memo on the 2 year custody and 2 year residency and custody exceptions for abused adopted children. Pages 1-57 of this FIOA response contain information applies primarily to VAWA self-petition or cases of abused adopted children.

Page 58 (Electronic page 72) of the response appears to be a check list of the types of evidence that may be fraud indicators or raise questions or lead to a request for further evidence (RFE) this appears to be self-petition related and it is not clear the extent to which it relates to battered spouse waiver cases.

Pages 59-61 and pp 88-91 directly related to battered spouse adjudications and provide direction on how District Office adjudicators are to respond when at an interview for a jointly filed request to remove conditions a battered spouse/child request to file a battered spouse waiver. These communications recognize the VAWA confidentiality implications in processing these requests. Pages 70-73 provide the formal interim process from changing from a joint petition to a battered spouse waiver.

Pages 62 -67, also provided on pages 82-87. Directly discuss battered spouse waiver adjudications with VAWA Unit staff providing examples the types of questions VAWA unit trained staff use in requests for further evidence (RFE) on the following topic proof of: extreme cruelty; battering (physical abuse); good faith marriage, residence with abusive spouse/parent. There is also included RFE language describing that marital tensions are not necessarily abuse. The materials also describe the three main reasons why battered spouse waiver adjudicators send cases to an interview at a field office. Any credible evidence rules are described and an explanation of Battering or Extreme Cruelty from Chapter 25 of the Adjudicators Field Manual is included. Page 92 also addresses similar issues.

Pages 76-78 set out the standard operating procedures (S)OP) used by District offices processing VAWA cases addressing both battered spouse waiver cases and VAWA self-petitions adjustments of status to lawful permanent residency. The SOP discusses interviews, the timing of interviews and the involvement of supervisors. It also discusses having a VAWA Point of Contact at the field office and their role. This SOP recognizes that some VAWA cases will be identified during an interview and any such cases are to be referred to the VAWA POC in the field office. This policy took effect August 1, 2011.

Pages 79-81 discuss the creation of the “384” code of admission notifying DHS staff that a case has VAWA confidentiality protection. It is interesting to note that no mention of battered spouse waivers are a case type is included in these communications despite VAWA 2005 defining battered spouse waivers as VAWA self-petitioners.

[pdf] USCIS Website I-751Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (September 17, 2020) (+)

This USCIS webpage discusses where to file a battered spouse waiver application or other application to remove conditions on an immigrant spouse’s residency. This includes lists of recommended evidence. Note that in battered spouse waiver cases due to VAWA’s any credible evidence rules no specific types on information can be required.

[pdf] USCIS, Response to USICS Ombudsman Formal Recommendation 56, “Improving the Process for Removal of Conditions on Residence for Spouses and Children” (July 10, 2013) (+)

USCIS Deputy Director’s Response to Ombudsman recommendations that would improve the processing of requests by spouses of U.S. citizens including battered spouse waiver cases on applications to provide full lawful permanent residency to spouse of U.S. citizens.

[pdf] John Trasvina Interim Guidance to OPLA Attorneys Regarding Civil Immigration Enforcement and Removal Policies and Priorities (May 27, 2021) – REVOKED (+)

In effect May 27, 2021 until rescinded on April 3, 2022 by Doyle Memorandum ICE Guidance to OPLA Attorneys found here: https://niwaplibrary.wcl.american.edu/pubs/opla-imm-enforce-guide-2022. This memorandum continues to remain in NIWAP’s web library for historical purposes.

[pdf] DHS FAQs Protected Areas and Courthouse Arrests (October 28, 2021) (+)

DHS wide policy affecting both Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) on protected areas where immigration enforcement will generally not occur. This policy applies to all of DHS and expands upon and replaces prior policies. The FAQ addresses a range of locations that are off limits generally for immigration enforcement and also specifically addresses civil immigration enforcement at courthouses. It is important to note that these protections apply to all immigrants and are in addition to the protections offered immigrant crime victims under VAWA confidentiality protections.

[pdf] DHS Press Release: Secretary Mayorkas Announces New Immigration Enforcement Priorities (September 30, 2021) (+)

DHS press release announcing the shift in immigration enforcement to cases in which following an individualized assessment that takes into account the totality of the circumstances DHS officials believe the person who is subject to the enforcement action poses a threat to national security, a current threat to public safety or threatens border security. Being undocumented in the United States will no longer be by itself sufficient reason for an enforcement action absent a national security, public safety, or border security concern. Importantly this policy is designed to deter immigration enforcement officials from responding to tips from employers, and landlords who seek to have workers or tenants removed in retaliation for complaints about working or living conditions.

[pdf] USCIS Adjudicator’s Field Manuel Chapter 25 Petitions for Removal of Conditions on Conditional Residence (September 22, 2009) (+)

This manual details how Congress amended the Marriage Fraud Act in 1990 and provided a means for battered spouses to escape their abusive spouses. This was a result of the original Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments, which required a two-year marriage requirement before being able to obtain lawful status.