Effective October 1, USCIS began implementing its policy of referring cases to the immigration court through the issuance of a Notice to Appear (NTA) on denied status-impacting applications, thus increasing its enforcement actions to a whole host of cases that normally are not automatically referred for proceedings. Service of the NTA provides a foreign national with notice that deportation proceedings are being initiated and that they are now under the jurisdiction of the immigration courts.

Although USCIS had had longstanding authority to issue “referral NTAs” to ICE, USCIS exercised this authority sparingly and only in specific situations. Not anymore.

In announcing the implementation of its new policy, USCIS makes clear that it will be taking an incremental approach; in other words, it will not be referring all cases to ICE. Here is a summary of how USCIS expects to implement the new policy and some procedural considerations: