New USCIS Policy Impacting Naturalized Citizens

In a recent update, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued new policy guidance that marks a significant shift in how confidentiality protections are handled for certain naturalized U.S. citizens. As of July 12, 2024, the confidentiality protections under 8 U.S.C. 1367, which served to shield survivors of abuse such as Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioners and individuals with approved T and U nonimmigrant status, will no longer apply once these individuals achieve U.S. citizenship.

This change, detailed in Volume 1 of the USCIS Policy Manual, is designed to improve access to e-filing and other customer service tools for naturalized citizens. Previously, the protections under 8 U.S.C. 1367 created barriers that hindered communication between USCIS and these citizens, impacting case processing and response times. By removing these barriers upon naturalization, USCIS tries to streamline operations and facilitate more effective interactions. For instance, naturalized citizens can now more easily request replacement naturalization certificates or engage in communications regarding their intent to financially support parole applicants, enhancing their ability to participate in family reunification and humanitarian sponsorship.

The decision to terminate these protections post-naturalization follows feedback from various stakeholders including adjudicating officers and naturalized citizens themselves. The general consensus indicates that the continuation of these protections after naturalization is not necessary, leading to unnecessary delays in case processing. Furthermore, once a noncitizen victim becomes a U.S. citizen, their abuser no longer has the leverage of manipulating the immigration system against them, making these protective measures less necessary.

This policy revision is expected to have a broad impact on how naturalized citizens interact with USCIS, potentially improving their experience and satisfaction with the immigration system’s customer service. Rahimi Law Firm P.C. is ready to assist those affected by these changes. Whether you’re seeking clarity on how these adjustments might affect your status or need help navigating the updated procedures, our team is here to provide expert guidance and support. 

For those who may be concerned about these changes or have specific inquiries related to how this could affect your immigration status, please don’t hesitate to contact Rahimi Law Firm P.C.