Trump Memo Put Congressional Case Assistance at Risk: Immigration Assistance

Many applicants for immigration benefits have found themselves in the office of their local congressperson. By seeking assistance from a local member of Congress, either a senator or representative, constituents with pending immigration cases can find an advocate within the federal government. With support from a Congressional office, those experiencing trouble with their immigration cases can receive specialized help with navigating through inefficient government agencies. However, as first reported by the Daily Beast, this beneficial service may soon be encumbered by unnecessary burdens.

Proposed Changes

The proposed changes to Congressional assistance procedures regulated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) would drastically increase the volume of paperwork required for Congressional staff to advocate on behalf of constituents. Currently, congressional staff only require a single privacy waiver to contact USCIS on behalf of a constituent. Congressional advocates are then able to make inquires with Federal agencies and coordinate with constituent’s immigration attorneys about any updates to a constituent’s case.  The new changes would require Congressional staff to obtain a new privacy wavier for each inquiry made on the behalf of constituents. For many of these cases, Congressional staffers must contact USCIS and other organizations multiple times to a receive follow up. If the new procedures are adopted, Congressional offices would be over encumbered by pointless paperwork. Additionally, the proposed procedural change would require Congressional assistants to obtain a handwritten and notarized signature signed, under penalty of perjury, by the constituent whose records were involved in any inquiry. The changes would prevent individuals with difficult immigration case issues to seek efficient assistance from their local Congressional office.