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Updated USCIS Policy Manual Grants Officers Broad Discretion to Deny

July 15, 2020, USCIS issued updates to its Policy Manual, which contains the official policies of USCIS and directs immigration officers issuing decisions.


Under this new guidance, when making a decision on a petition or application, an officer must perform a separate analysis weighing “all positive factors” in a case against “any negative factors” in the applicant’s entire record. The Policy Manual has a non-exhaustive list of more than 20 possible factors an officer can consider.


USCIS states that they are consolidating prior guidance regarding officers' discretion to decide petitions and applications. They really created a chart of applications/petitions subject to discretionary analysis and creates new procedures for decision making.


USCIS has been updating the USCIS Policy Manual almost weekly this summer. July 24, 2020, "clarifying guidance" for EB-5 Investor Visas were addressed in a Policy Alert.


USCIS carefully selects their words so none of these Policy Alerts are changing any policy rather "consolidating" " clarifying" or "incorporating" what they like to refer to as "technical updates." These sweeping policy updates are not minor "technical" updates, so it appears they are going out of their way to downplay these policy changes.


This administration has shown they are surprisingly cognoscente of the upcoming election. They are aware of the votes that will be won through dog whistle immigration policy promising to create more jobs for "Americans" during the current economic crisis.


They are also aware of how blatantly breaking campaign promises to keep DACA would give the Biden camp a lot of ammo. This is exactly why SCOTUS blocked the end of DACA. Trump didn't end it through EO, but instead tried to avoid the political backlash and had DHS do it on the basis of concerns it may be unconstitutional.



As recently as July 2020 Trump said he was going to protect DACA. In an interview on Telemundo Trump announced he was working on a "comprehensive immigration plan" and "make a major executive order that will allow hundreds of thousands of DACA illegal aliens to remain permanently in the U.S. and eventually obtain American citizenship."


It was one of Trump's most disturbing rants that makes it terrifyingly clear that the leader of the free world lacks even the most basic understanding of the structure of the US Government. Immediately after announcing the comprehensive immigration plan, then promising to sign an executive order, he then said, "No, what I’m going to do is that they’re going to [be] part of a much bigger bill on immigration. It’s going to be a very big bill, a very good bill, and merit-based bill, and it will include DACA, and I think people are going to be very happy."


In 2018 Trump actually backed a plan to not only keep DACA but to expand it to make millions more eligible. Trump explained that "these are good people who deserve to stay."


Trump has already changed his mind on this and announced he would be ending DACA. There is still plenty of time for him to change his mind, or change it back... since he doesn't have any stance on the issues he has the flexibility to just change his position as needed.


It is honor of Trump that this blog post jumps between unrelated topics and reads like the rants of a mad man chugging diet cokes in the oval office.


Unrelated fun fact:

Trump made 280 promises when running for President and in the final year of his term he has broken at least 60 of those promises. He actually broke 47% of the promises he made in writing in the document he called his, "Contract with the American Voter." The numbers vary widely though because the media seems to to disregard the truth as aggressively as the liar and chief.


He did keep roughly 35% of the campaign promises he made. Many people have criticized that number pointing out that Trump didn't even keep half of the promises he made on the campaign trail. It does seem impossible that Trump could fail to keep even half of his campaign promises and still remain in office but in 2011 PolitiFact found that Obama had only kept 48% of his campaign promises.


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