On 12/8/11 I attended our quarterly AILA-VOLOG meeting at USCIS at the
Newark District Office. I continue to recommend this important meeting
to all New Jersey immigration lawyers in the NJ. I try not to miss them.
VOLOG presents an excellent opportunity to meet the section heads, hear
the latest news about what's going on in the Newark District office
and even discuss problem cases. There is no other way to stay current
in this ever changing field. Despite my reminders however, very few new
In attendance were the USCIS Supervisors along with the Chief of Staff
Russell Owen. The AOS unit will be moving shortly to the 14
th floor to a new larger facility. Officers will have offices rather than
cubicles that exist now. Also, building renovations will begin shortly.
A survey was receintly completed that ranked the customer service high
in Newark and I agree with that. The office is extremely accessale to
attorney. However, the survey noted the biggest problem was building access.
We have been complaining for years about the long lines and the difficulty
attorneys and clients experience entering the Newark USICS facility. USCIS
blames the building management General Service Administration and the
Federal Protective Service who provides the guards but hopes that the
survey will facilitate a change. We have heard that before and nothing
is ever done. AILA-NJ is considering litigation.
After several months USCIS finally announce that they have found a replacement
for the Section 245(i) , 751, waiver unit that was vacated when Randi
Borgen was elevated to Field Office Director. We congratulate Ms. Borgen
for her new position and know she will be a great Field Office Director.
We were happy to meet Ms. Maria I. Guerra who filled the spot and look
forward to corresponding with her. We were again assured that interpreters
would not be allowed in to the adjustment unit and all interpreting would
be done via the phone through a USCIS contractor. This will hopefully
eliminate the unauthorized practice of law performed by several interpreters.
We were advised as to the slowdown of filings in the adjustment unit but
the increase in Naturalization filings. Naturalizations are currently
taking about 4 months, adjustments about 4.5 months. In 2011 approximately
15,000 green cards were issued out of the Newark office and approximately
36,000 naturalizations were granted. No mention of how many individuals
were placed into removal during 2011. One new issue that arouse was the
process to follow when a 1-485 is denied by the service and thereafter
granted by a Judge after an appeal is taken. The service requires a new
I-485 be filed with no fee, and copy to the court. This way a
green card can be generated.
Question were raised about Visa Waiver adjustments and the Newark office
noted that they continue to processing them as long as there is no final
orders entered against the alien. If there is the file will be held pending
further guidance which should be coming shortly.
We were then introduced to Ms. Abigale Sanford who is a management and
programs analysis for USCIS from Washington DC. She is currently heading
the "transformation" program. This is a new program that USCIS
is rolling out to eliminate the paper filing and move towards an electronic
filing system. The program is rolling out slowly and has many issues that
we hope USCIS will consider in the future. But despite out complaint we
can't stop progress.
Facing an immigration matter should not be taken lightly,
contact an experienced New Jersey immigration lawyer who will be able to provide
you with the guidance you deserve.