25 October 2010

USCIS Issues Two Precedent Appeals Decisions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that it has issued two decisions from the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) as binding precedent for the agency. These decisions will provide guidance to USCIS adjudicators and help deliver predictability to the public. AAO precedent decisions result from a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which publishes the cases. 

”The issuance of AAO precedent decisions honors USCIS?s commitment to the clear and consistent application of the immigration laws,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “We are grateful for the Justice Department?s partnership in our efforts to promote predictability in immigration-benefits cases.” USCIS is committed to issuing further precedent decisions going forward, given their value to the agency and the public. 

An AAO precedent decision is an immigration-appeals case that DHS, with the Attorney General’s concurrence, designates as establishing a rule for deciding future cases. Once published by DOJ, AAO precedent decisions bind all DHS personnel in the administration of the immigration laws. DOJ publishes the decisions in the bound volumes of the “Administrative Decisions Under Immigration and Nationality Laws of the United States” (I&N Dec.), which also contain the precedent decisions of the DOJ?s Board of Immigration Appeals. 

The first decision affirms USCIS?s denial of an application to adjust status to permanent residence and holds that an employment-based petition must be “valid” initially if it is to “remain valid with respect to a new job.” The second decision reverses USCIS?s denial of an application to preserve residence for naturalization purposes and clarifies the definition of employment by an “American firm or corporation.”

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