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Leaked USCIS Memo Proposes Significant Improvements to Immigration Process

by | Aug 13, 2010 | Immigration News

An internal memo leaked by sources at the USCIS reveal the immigration agency to be seeking ways to improve the immigration process, with or without Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR).  The memo, addressed to USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas, outlines at least 18 suggestions for change in administrative policies and practices that could result in dramatic improvements in the immigration process.  It also includes recommendations regarding implementation timeframes and the resources necessary to make the proposed changes. 

Many of the proposals intend to ease the complexities and difficulties inherent in the immigration process for legal immigrants and their families.  Most notably, the memo suggests extending the grace period for certain types of visas (H1-B, E-1, E-2, L-1 and others) to allow visa holders more time to make arrangements for departure when their stay allowance expires.  The extension would increase the grace period from 10 days to 30-90 days depending on the visa type and length of time in the U.S, providing workers and their families more sufficient time to deal with the disposal of homes, leases and other belongings.  

The memo also suggests changes in the allocation of H1-B visas from bi-annually to quarterly or monthly, allowing non-immigrant visa holders to travel while their adjustment of status applications are pending without fear of being found inadmissible, and permitting automatic extensions of EAD’s for up to 240 days when the extension application has been filed prior to expiration. 

New ways to stimulate economic development and promote family unity are also addressed in the memo.  One suggestion details a plan to partner with the Department of Commerce to promote the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, which encourages foreign investors to make significant investments in American businesses and job creation.  The memo also provides simple solutions to expedite the LPR process for family members of those serving in our nation’s armed forces and providing relief to children and victims of human trafficking and violent crimes. 

Overall, the document is a positive sign that much needed changes in the immigration system are being strongly considered.  Although a significant amount of controversy has risen as a result of the memo, the relief the suggestions would provide to individuals navigating the immigration process is substantial.   

The USCIS has responded to the release of the memo with a statement indicating that:  

“Internal memoranda help us do the thinking that leads to important changes; some of them are adopted and others are rejected. Our goal is to implement policies wisely and well to strengthen all aspects of our mission. The choices we have made so far have strengthened both the enforcement and services sides of USCIS — nobody should mistake deliberation and exchange of ideas for final decisions. To be clear, DHS will not grant deferred action or humanitarian parole to the nation’s entire illegal immigrant population.” 

Please check back often as we will update you on the latest developments in immigration reform.  

Click here to read the memo in its entirety:  USCIS Memo – “Administrative Alternatives To Comprehensive Immigration Reform”



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