Changed country conditions in the refugee’s country of nationality do not justify termination of refugee status. The sole basis for an officer to terminate the status of a foreign national admitted to the United States as a refugee is if the officer determinates that the foreign national was not a refugee within the meaning of the INA at the time of his or her admission to the United States. In order to make this determination, an officer must be familiar with how the term “refugee” is defined. See INA 207(c)(4) and 8 CFR 207.9.
This determination standard applies solely to principal refugees and never to derivative refugees. Derivative refugees are not required to prove past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution. However, an officer may terminate a derivative refugee’s status if the principal’s status is terminated.
The statute and regulations do not require the formal termination of refugee status prior to removal proceedings where the refugee has been inspected and examined for adjustment of status, has been found inadmissible, and has not been granted a waiver of inadmissibility. Prior to being placed in removal proceedings, the applicant may first be given an opportunity to apply for a discretionary waiver of inadmissibility grounds.
If USCIS denies the adjustment application and/or waiver application, the applicant may also renew his or her application for adjustment or waiver of inadmissibility before an Immigration Judge (IJ). The applicant may also apply for asylum or any other relief from removal before an IJ.
The officer should prepare a Notice To Appear (NTA) if the refugee is inadmissible. Upon written notice of the adjustment application’s denial, the applicant is no longer considered an admitted alien and should be charged with inadmissibility grounds under INA 212(a). However, if the officer is denying the adjustment application on other grounds (e.g., abandonment), the officer should not issue a NTA, since the applicant has not been found inadmissible.
Alternatively, USCIS may place a person who was admitted as a refugee directly in removal proceedings, without termination of refugee status, on the basis of any applicable charges under INA 237 without the adjudication of an adjustment application.
USCIS conducts terminations of refugee status. See 8 CFR 207.9. If an officer concludes after reviewing a refugee’s A-file that the facts merit termination of the principal refugee’s status, the officer will follow the procedures below, depending on where the case is located:
1. Cases Located at Service Centers
All evidence relevant to a possible termination of refugee status should be reviewed by a supervisor and then scanned and forwarded to the Refugee Affairs Division (RAD) within the Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations Directorate (RAIO) for review. RAD will review the information and send a response back with a recommendation on how to proceed. If RAD recommends relocation of the case for possible termination, the principal’s file and all derivative files, along with a copy of RAD’s recommendation, should be relocated to the District or Field Office to interview the refugee for possible termination of status.
2. Cases Located at Field Offices
All evidence relevant to a possible termination of refugee status should be reviewed by a supervisor and then scanned and forwarded along with an explanation detailing why the officer believes termination may be appropriate to HQ FOD through appropriate channels. This evidence will be forwarded for review to the Refugee Affairs Division (RAD). RAD will review the information and send a response back with a recommendation on how to proceed.
If RAD recommends possible termination, all family members’ files should be requested. Once all family files have been received, the Field Office should interview the refugee for possible termination of status. If RAD does not recommend termination, no interview is needed for Notice of Intent to Terminate purposes and the officer should resume adjudication of the adjustment application.
March 4, 2014
Refugee and Asylee-Based Adjustment of Status under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 209
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to address adjustment of status applications filed by refugees and asylees under INA sections 209(a) and 209(b).
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