Chapter 9 - Feedback, Complaints, and Reporting Misconduct

A. Feedback

1. USCIS Contact Center

USCIS conducts telephone interviews every month with callers who have used the USCIS Contact Center within the past 90 days. USCIS may contract with a private company to execute this task. The interviews that are conducted represent a statistically valid sample.

2. In-Person Appointments

Field offices may provide feedback forms in their waiting rooms. If such forms are provided, field offices should also provide a place within the office to deposit the feedback forms.

3. USCIS Website

In February 2010, USCIS implemented the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Survey on the USCIS website. This recognized instrument is a voluntary, randomized, pop-up, online survey offered to USCIS website users. By participating in this survey, USCIS became part of the E-Government Satisfaction Index and joined more than one hundred other government organizations and agencies that have already implemented this survey and are receiving feedback.

USCIS reviews the results of the survey on a quarterly basis and identifies opportunities to improve the USCIS website. Survey data also informs USCIS where resources might best be used to affect overall satisfaction.

USCIS also reviews a wide assortment of research papers and other products available from the survey administrator to help USCIS in data gathering, analysis, and site improvement activities.

B. Complaints [1]

1. Ways of Submitting Complaints

Complaint in USCIS Office

Persons can make a complaint in a USCIS office by asking to speak to a supervisor. In these situations, a supervisor must be made available within a reasonable amount of time. The supervisor should take the complainant’s name and information about the nature of the complaint. The supervisor should attempt to resolve the issue before the complainant leaves the office.

Submit Written Complaint

Written complaints may include handwritten letters, emails, or faxes. [2]

Contact Office of Inspector General Directly [3]

Contact information for DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) can be found on both the USCIS website and on the DHS website. OIG contact information must also be displayed in a public area and visible in every USCIS field office.

File Complaint with USCIS Headquarters

USCIS Headquarters (HQ) contact information is provided on USCIS’ website. If the complaint is directed to the wrong directorate or program office, the complaint must be forwarded to the appropriate HQ entity.

Ask to Speak to Contact Center Supervisor

If a caller is dissatisfied with the service he or she received during a call to the USCIS Contact Center, the caller may ask to speak to a supervisor. [4] Both Tier 1 and Tier 2 staff members must transfer the call to a supervisor.

2. Complaints Received

A person should not be expected to know where to first submit a complaint or how to elevate a complaint if they think that their issue has not been adequately addressed. Under no circumstances should a person’s complaint be dismissed or disregarded because the proper process for filing a complaint was not followed. All complaints received must be handled appropriately.

All complaints should be responded to by providing a written response, telephone call, or if applicable, addressing the complaint in person upon submission. The response should explain steps taken to resolve the issue. In cases where the complaint cannot be resolved in a reasonable time, the response should acknowledge the receipt of the complaint, when a resolution is expected, and any additional action the person may take.

Applicants with complaints about being victimized by a person engaged in the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL) should be directed to USCIS’ website where they can find state-by-state reporting information, as well as information on how to report UPIL to the Federal Trade Commission.

C. Reporting Allegations of Misconduct

Benefit requestors and other interested parties should report allegations of misconduct by USCIS employees. [5]

1. Employee Misconduct

Allegations of misconduct by USCIS employee and contractors should be reported immediately to the USCIS Office of Investigations (OI) or the DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Allegations can include, but are not limited to:

  • Fraud, corruption, bribery, and embezzlement;

  • Sexual advances or sexual misconduct;

  • Theft or misuse of funds and theft of government property;

  • Perjury;

  • Physical assault; [6]

  • Unauthorized release of classified or special protected class [7] information;

  • Drug use or possession;

  • Unauthorized use or misuse of sensitive official government databases;

  • Misuse of official position for private gain;

  • Misuse of a government vehicle or property;

  • Failure to properly account for government fund;

  • Unauthorized use or misuse of a government purchase or travel card;

  • Falsification of travel documents; and

  • Falsification of employment application documents.

2. Reporting Employee Misconduct

Reporting Employee Misconduct

Contact Information [8]

DHS Office

Phone and Fax

Mail

USCIS OI

202-233-2453 (Fax)

Office of Investigations
Attn: Intake
Mail Stop: 2275
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
633 Third Street NW, 3rd Floor, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20529-2275

DHS OIG

Toll-free hotline:

800-323-8603

202-254-4297 (Fax)

 

DHS Office of Inspector General, Mail Stop: 0305
Attn: Office of Investigations - Hotline
245 Murray Lane, SW
Washington, DC 20528-0305


USCIS OI makes every effort to maintain the confidentiality of informational sources. However, for investigations in which an allegation is substantiated and disciplinary action is proposed, the subject of such investigation is entitled to review documentation and evidence relied upon as the basis for the proposed action.

OI refers matters to DHS OIG for review and investigative determination as required, depending on the nature of the allegations included in the report. If the allegation either does not meet the criteria for referral to DHS OIG or is not accepted by DHS OIG for investigation, OI may resolve the matter by conducting an investigation; referring the matter for an official management inquiry, if appropriate; or referring the matter to the appropriate USCIS manager for information and action as necessary.

As a matter of procedure, OI does not provide a complainant, victim, witness, or subject of a complaint with the initial investigative determination of a complaint, since a disclosure of this nature could adversely impact the investigative process or agency resolution of the alleged behavior.

Any allegation may also be reported by contacting DHS OIG directly either through a local OIG field office, [9] or by one of the methods above.

3. Allegations of Discrimination

Allegations of discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, parental status, protected genetic information, national origin, age, or disability should be promptly reported to a USCIS supervisor or to the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL). [10] In addition, allegations involving physical assault (such as grabbing, fondling, hitting, or shoving) should be reported to OI or DHS OIG. CRCL’s website also contains detailed information about avenues for filing complaints with different offices and components of DHS. [11]

DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Contact Information

Email

Fax

Mail

CRCLCompliance@hq.dhs.gov

202-401-4708

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
245 Murray Lane, SW, Building 410
Mail Stop: 0190
Washington, DC 20528

D. Reporting Fraud, Abuse, and Scams

Benefit requestors and other interested parties should report fraud, abuse, and scams as indicated on the USCIS Contact Us page. 

In addition, immigration fraud can be reported to:

The USCIS website also contains information on common scams and how to avoid scams.

Footnotes


1. [^] This section specifically addresses complaints that do not involve egregious or criminal misconduct. For information on the Office of Security and Integrity’s policy on reporting criminal and egregious misconduct, see Section C, Reporting Allegations of Misconduct [1 USCIS-PM A.9(C)].

2. [^] See Appendix: Dissatisfaction with USCIS: Terms and Definitions for information on where to send complaints.

3. [^] See Appendix: Dissatisfaction with USCIS: Terms and Definitions for information on how to contact the OIG.

4. [^] See Chapter 3, Forms of Assistance, Section C, Telephone [1 USCIS-PM A.3(C)].

5. [^] USCIS employees are also subject to mandatory reporting requirements for known or suspected misconduct by federal employees and contractors.

6. [^] Physical assault may include grabbing, fondling, hitting, or shoving.

7. [^] See Chapter 7, Privacy and Confidentiality [1 USCIS-PM A.7].

8. [^] Allegations reported directly to the DHS OIG may also be reported through a local DHS OIG field office.

9. [^] A list of OIG Office of Investigations field offices is available on the DHS OIG’s website.

10. [^] See the File a Civil Rights Complaint page on the DHS website. 

11. [^] See How to File a Complaint with the Department of Homeland Security (PDF), issued October 3, 2012.


No legal authorities available at this time.

Appendices

Dissatisfaction with USCIS: Terms and Definitions

Appendix: Dissatisfaction with USCIS: Terms and Definitions

Dissatisfaction with USCIS: Terms and Definitions

Category and Definition

Examples and Contact Information

Complaint

Any communication received by USCIS expressing dissatisfaction with USCIS. Complaints can be categorized as either “case-specific” or “non-case-specific.”[1]

Case-specific complaints directly relate to cases processed by USCIS.

Non-case-specific complaints refer to any dissatisfaction with USCIS that does not relate to a specific case.

Case-Specific Complaints

  • Cases outside normal processing times (ONPT)

  • Inaccurate or incomplete responses to case-related inquiries

  • Case processing errors

  • Confusion regarding a notice or correspondence sent by USCIS

Non-Case-Specific Complaints

  • Rude treatment by USCIS employees or contractors

  • Facility-related issues

  • Difficulty understanding forms, notices, instructions, or other general information

  • Administration of immigration laws or USCIS policies

Contact Information

USCIS offices, in-person or by mail. See Find a USCIS Office page on the USCIS website.

USCIS Contact Center
Phone: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY: 1-800-767-1833)

Misconduct

Actions of a USCIS employee or contractor that can be considered extreme or outrageous, including, but not limited to, criminal activity.[2]

 

  • Fraud, corruption, bribery, or embezzlement

  • Perjury or falsification of documents or information

  • Physical assault or inappropriate conduct

  • Unauthorized release of classified information or unauthorized use or misuse of official government systems

  • Misuse of official position for private gain

  • Theft or misuse of government funds, vehicles, badges, credentials, secure forms, sensitive property, or other property

  • Arrest of an employee or contractor by law enforcement personnel

Contact Information

DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG)
Phone: 1-800-323-8603; Fax: 202-254-4297

Mail: DHS, OIG/MAIL STOP 0305
Attn: Office of Investigations – Hotline
245 Murray Lane, SW
Washington, DC 20528-0305

USCIS Office of Security and Integrity (OI)
Fax: 202-233-2453

Mail: Office of Investigations
Attn: Intake MS 2275
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
633 Third Street NW, 3rd Floor, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20529-2275

Footnotes


1. [^] See Volume 1, Public Services, Chapter 9, Feedback, Complaints, and Reporting Misconduct [1 USCIS-PM A.9].

2. [^] See Volume 1, Public Services, Chapter 9, Feedback, Complaints, and Reporting Misconduct [1 USCIS-PM A.9].

POLICY ALERT - USCIS Public Services

May 10, 2019

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding services USCIS provides to the public, including general administration of certain immigration benefits, online tools, and up-to-date information.

AFFECTED SECTIONS

 

POLICY ALERT - Customer Service

August 26, 2014

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance on its standards in customer service.

AFFECTED SECTIONS

 
Current as of

CHAPTERS

Current as of