[Blogger’s note: An anonymous immigration lawyer offers this lament on the woeful quality of adjudications at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For related wailing, see: “ ‘I Hate [Bleep]ing Immigration Law’ — Whenever I Get an Unjust Request for Evidence,” “End the Tyranny of Immigration Insubordination,” and “Immigration Indifference – The Adjudicator’s Curse.”]
Dear Immigration Colleagues:
On my doctor’s advice, I am considering changing careers. Like perhaps many of you, helping clients overcome unreasoned decisions and ludicrous requests for evidence year in and year out has taken its toll on my blood pressure. The quality of adjudications by USCIS seems to be declining even further, unfortunately, and I figure now is the time to get out while I am still living.
A string of recent O-1 RFEs [Requests for Evidence], and NOIDs [Notices of Intent to Deny] from the USCIS California Service Center reveal a new disturbing trend. The best and brightest, including the very STEM PhDs to whom the Senate and much of the House would essentially just give green cards, now find themselves in the crosshairs of the USCIS such that they are being prevented from even coming to work, or continuing to work, temporarily. We just recently received a Notice of Intent Deny, for example, for the fifth O-1 extension for the CEO and founder of a very successful U.S. technology company.
Unfortunately, the example above is not a one-off training issue, despite what the USCIS brass might say when they read this piece ( I will be sending it to them). We have confirmed with other colleagues that O-1 petitions filed for top notch STEM PhDs, supported by voluminous awards, recommendations, patents, and publications are being stopped in their tracks, and told that such evidence does not show that they meet any of the O-1 criteria. Do these government officials know that these are the guys whom just about everybody in Congress agrees we should actually be encouraging to come here? Shouldn’t this general understanding of our policy inform officers’ discretion in these matters? Where is the disconnect between us, our duly elected officials, and the officers adjudicating these cases?
Bureaucrats like the one who is intent on denying our client’s case can have a profoundly negative impact on peoples’ businesses and lives, not to mention the U.S. economy as a whole. Sometimes, this can be fixed. The impact on an attorney’s health year after year, however, may not be reversible. That is why I figure it is time leave. Of the many careers I have considered, I have thought about becoming a screenwriter of spy thrillers. Dealing in fiction, where no one actually gets hurt by rogue government officials, would seem to be a better way to live a longer, healthier life. Before I make the leap, I wanted to share with you my pitch for one screenplay idea. It is a sequel to one of the early James Bond thrillers, with a science fiction twist (Please be gentle in your criticism. My nerves are a bit weak these days).
Here it is:
Title: Dr. No vs. the League of Extraordinary Aliens
Dr. No is back, and this time he is ready to do some real damage. He, and his evil “Culture of No” agents, have infiltrated the elite government sub-department responsible for bringing the “League of Extraordinary Aliens” to earth. Members of the League comes to us from far off planets like, Europater, and Asiater, and use their super powers to help solve Earth’s biggest problems, like economic stagnation, global warming, and low quality Hollywood entertainment.
In reality, Dr. No has never left. He and his agents have operated their secret organization, SPECTRE [Society to Prevent Economic, Cultural and Technological Revitalization and Enhancement] from deep beneath a dark and ominous missile factory somewhere in Orange County. They have lurked in the shadows, sporadically attacking international business, and technological innovation to serve what could only be their ultimate goal: returning society to the Middle Ages. Now they are going all out. SPECTRE has managed to turn its weapons, the RFE explosive device and NOID blaster, on our last hope for progress, the League of Extraordinary Aliens. Even that most righteous protector of the League, Ombuds Man, is rendered powerless in the face of SPECTRE’s firepower. …
That is as far as I have gotten with the screenplay. I still need help coming up with an ending, and am having a hard time imaging a happy one. I look forward to your ideas.