Have you had your immigration case turned on its heads because of a issue with the mail? It’s not you – it’s them. It’s been a frustrating week here at the office, as we’ve had to fight on several cases where USCIS and the National Visa Center (NVC) have screwed up some pretty basic things regarding mail and notifying people of extremely important things regarding their cases. If the government can’t get the mail right, how can they be expected to get decisions on complicated areas of law right?

Case One
Client had U status through October 15, 2019, so we had to get his green card application filed by then. We mailed it out on October 11 and USCIS received it on October 13, 2019, according to the USPS tracking system. However, our receipt for the green card wasn’t issued until October 16th. We received a denial of the green card application saying that USCIS received his case one day too late – using the receipt date, not the day received. In the denial letter, they talk about putting our client in removal proceedings. Our client can (and will) appeal, but that’s an extra $675 in government filing fees.

Case Two
The client filed an I-751 petition to remove the conditions on her green card in 2017. In 2018, she moved and updated her address online with USCIS. In January 2020, an Immigration Officer called her and asked why she hadn’t gone to a previously scheduled interview. She told them that she had never received the notice and asked the officer to verify her mailing address. It was her old address. Our client told the officer her new address and it was supposedly updated (again). In late June, our client received a denial because she had failed to show up to a February 2020 interview. She contacted USCIS and asked what address the February 2020 interview notice had gone to. The officer gave the old address. Despite properly filing a change of address in 2018 and updating it over the phone with an officer in early 2020, USCIS still messed up and now threatens removal proceedings.

Case Three
I received an email from the National Visa Center on July 8th saying our client had a visa interview and needed to take the next steps to register the appointment. The interview was scheduled for July 7th. Seriously.

You can’t make this stuff up. There is incompetence at all levels within our immigration agencies. I understand that with the volume of work that mistakes happen, but mistakes of this magnitude happening in a short amount of time is unacceptable. When we no longer have a direct way to contact USCIS to resolve these issues, clients are forced to pay to fix the government’s mistakes. I cynically think that maybe it’s part of the plan to bring more money into USCIS. Regardless, they need to get their act together and provide competent service at an absolute minimum.