USCIS Error in NBC G-28s: Notices Misdirected to Applicants25 Nov 2011
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently acknowledged problems with data transmission involving the National Benefits Center (NBC). The NBC had not been receiving proper information regarding the entry of appearance for attorneys and representatives (Form G-28). As a result, important case-related notices were not sent to attorneys and authorized representatives, but instead were incorrectly sent directly to the applicants.
Timeframe: July to October 2011
From late July 2011 through October 7, 2011, G-28 information was not being transmitted from the USCIS filing lockboxes to the NBC. Thus, the USCIS appears to have processed each such case as if it was filed by an individual without an attorney. This resulted in transmission of USCIS communications directly to the individual, rather than the attorney, as required under USCIS policy and practice. Notices include: biometrics notices, requests for evidence (RFEs), interview appointment notices, and case decisions.
NBC Takes Steps to Fix Error
The NBC has taken steps to identify all cases that may have G-28s not entered into the system. They have manually entered the information of the attorneys or representatives in all cases identified in this matter. This process was completed at the beginning of November 2011. The NBC now, apparently, has sent the misdirected notices in these cases to the attorney or representative listed on the G-28.
Family and Naturalization Applicants Primarily Affected
The NBC is not involved with every case type. NBC primarily processes certain family-based cases and naturalization cases. This matter only impacts those who filed such cases with the lockboxes serving NBC between late July and October 7, 2011.
Safer to Forward Notice to Attorney or Representative
Individuals who have filed such cases should communicate with their attorneys or authorized representatives if they receive any notices regarding their cases. They should inform their attorneys of developments in their cases. These notices should be forwarded to their attorneys for review and appropriate action.
Contact USCIS in Case of Denial or Adverse Action
If a case has been denied for failure to take action in response to a misdirected notice, it is possible to contact the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283 for a possible reopening or other fix to the case. If needed, in the instance of a denial, one should seek legal help to avoid further immigration problems as a result of these errors.
The USCIS typically transmits notices to attorneys of record. As with any system, however, errors can occur. Thus, individuals who receive USCIS notices should never assume that their attorneys are aware of these. It appears that the USCIS took steps to fix this G-28 problem as soon as it came to their attention, but it is likely that many cases were involved, given the span of several months during which this error occurred. As explained, it is necessary for those with cases that were denied due to failure to respond to or act upon a notice that was not received to take action to have their cases reopened. Individuals in need of advice or assistance in such matters may contact the Murthy Law Firm.
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