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  • InfoPass Schedules and InfoPass-Related Issues

    Source: The Oh Law Firm

    People have been seeing two reports on the InfoPass schedules on the web sites. One is the USCIS official announcements for each local district and the other is this web site's report of the local district InfoPass scheduling. This web site's report presents the date when people can get access to the online InfoPass appointment scheduling. But when it comes to the actual dates of appointments, they are scheduled after the dates of the USCIS official announcement. Accordingly, people must have noticed that even if almost all local districts and suboffices take appointments as of today by online InfoPass, the earliest appointment is not scheduled until the date when the USCIS will officially announce the InfoPass Launch on its web site. When it comes to the access of walk-ins to the local offices without the InfoPass appointment, each district will make a decision and apparently most of the districts give sometime to let some walk-ins as well. It is thus advised that people should watch the official announcement of the USCIS InfoPass launch to determine when their walk-in access to the local offices will be discontinued. Our site just reports the availability of scheduling of appointments and not availability of actual appointment dates or the date of termination of walk-ins accessibility.

    In Minneosta, InfoPass appointments are scheduled beginning from September 8, 2004 even if the appointments are taken now. The district anticipates that appointments are scheduled in a two-week block. After September 8, 2004, the walk-in's access will be restricted but some walk-ins, particularly emergency cases, will be seen by the officers. However, the district will soon stop access of walk-in completely without the InfoPass appointment papers. Beginning from September 8, 2004, it will remove the so-called "attorney line" and attorneys will lose the privilege of having access to the information officers on a separte line.

    One unresolved issue related to the exclusive InfoPass appointment without availability of walk-in accessibility is "privacy." In order to get access to the local districts, aliens must supply certain private information including names, phone numbers, and other identity information. It is uncertain to what extent and purposes this private information can be used by the government agencies. Without doubt, the USCIS will not abuse the data and allow law enforcement agencies to get access to the information for the law enforcement and security purposes, but at this point, there are no laws that limit such accessibility by the law enforcement agencies. One classical example is the immigration lottery. Report indicates that the lottery registrants go through certain security checks to detect terrorists and millions of registrants' private information will remain in the system without any legal protection from the government's accessibility. Special registration for certain aliens remains the same. Before the InfoPass started, any aliens including illegal aliens or criminal aliens could approach the officers at the local offices without identifying himself or herself and without giving any identity data to aks questions. Such system has given some comfort to these illegal aliens to access the officers and local districts to address their questions and some local agency services, even though such access was not recommended by the legal counsels. Now with the InfoPass, some illegal aliens may feel uncomfortable or experience nervousness or fear because of disclosure of their personal information and potential disclosure of their identity, contact information, and legal status, leading to hesitancy in getting the services from the local districts.

    The USCIS is advised that in order to remove such potential problem, it announces its policy on protection of the InfoPass data from the law enforcement agencies and for purposes other than the scheduling of appointments or better yet introduce a legislation or enact a regulation that prohibits the agency from disclosing such information to the law enforcement agencies with the provisions for punishment of violating officers. The precedent for such legislation was "amnestry law" of 1986 which allowed illegal aliens to come out of the closet without the fear of prosecution because of such legal protection. The precedent for such regulation is 245(i) rule which prohibits the immigration law enforcement authorities from using information of filing of labor certification applications for 245(i) benefits for the law enforcement purpose, even though they can prosecute such illegal aliens if they are caught in the normal enforcement procedures. We strongly urge the agency to enact such regulation or pass legislation for the InfoPass system to serve its intended purposes and to achieve a success.

  • #2
    Source: The Oh Law Firm

    People have been seeing two reports on the InfoPass schedules on the web sites. One is the USCIS official announcements for each local district and the other is this web site's report of the local district InfoPass scheduling. This web site's report presents the date when people can get access to the online InfoPass appointment scheduling. But when it comes to the actual dates of appointments, they are scheduled after the dates of the USCIS official announcement. Accordingly, people must have noticed that even if almost all local districts and suboffices take appointments as of today by online InfoPass, the earliest appointment is not scheduled until the date when the USCIS will officially announce the InfoPass Launch on its web site. When it comes to the access of walk-ins to the local offices without the InfoPass appointment, each district will make a decision and apparently most of the districts give sometime to let some walk-ins as well. It is thus advised that people should watch the official announcement of the USCIS InfoPass launch to determine when their walk-in access to the local offices will be discontinued. Our site just reports the availability of scheduling of appointments and not availability of actual appointment dates or the date of termination of walk-ins accessibility.

    In Minneosta, InfoPass appointments are scheduled beginning from September 8, 2004 even if the appointments are taken now. The district anticipates that appointments are scheduled in a two-week block. After September 8, 2004, the walk-in's access will be restricted but some walk-ins, particularly emergency cases, will be seen by the officers. However, the district will soon stop access of walk-in completely without the InfoPass appointment papers. Beginning from September 8, 2004, it will remove the so-called "attorney line" and attorneys will lose the privilege of having access to the information officers on a separte line.

    One unresolved issue related to the exclusive InfoPass appointment without availability of walk-in accessibility is "privacy." In order to get access to the local districts, aliens must supply certain private information including names, phone numbers, and other identity information. It is uncertain to what extent and purposes this private information can be used by the government agencies. Without doubt, the USCIS will not abuse the data and allow law enforcement agencies to get access to the information for the law enforcement and security purposes, but at this point, there are no laws that limit such accessibility by the law enforcement agencies. One classical example is the immigration lottery. Report indicates that the lottery registrants go through certain security checks to detect terrorists and millions of registrants' private information will remain in the system without any legal protection from the government's accessibility. Special registration for certain aliens remains the same. Before the InfoPass started, any aliens including illegal aliens or criminal aliens could approach the officers at the local offices without identifying himself or herself and without giving any identity data to aks questions. Such system has given some comfort to these illegal aliens to access the officers and local districts to address their questions and some local agency services, even though such access was not recommended by the legal counsels. Now with the InfoPass, some illegal aliens may feel uncomfortable or experience nervousness or fear because of disclosure of their personal information and potential disclosure of their identity, contact information, and legal status, leading to hesitancy in getting the services from the local districts.

    The USCIS is advised that in order to remove such potential problem, it announces its policy on protection of the InfoPass data from the law enforcement agencies and for purposes other than the scheduling of appointments or better yet introduce a legislation or enact a regulation that prohibits the agency from disclosing such information to the law enforcement agencies with the provisions for punishment of violating officers. The precedent for such legislation was "amnestry law" of 1986 which allowed illegal aliens to come out of the closet without the fear of prosecution because of such legal protection. The precedent for such regulation is 245(i) rule which prohibits the immigration law enforcement authorities from using information of filing of labor certification applications for 245(i) benefits for the law enforcement purpose, even though they can prosecute such illegal aliens if they are caught in the normal enforcement procedures. We strongly urge the agency to enact such regulation or pass legislation for the InfoPass system to serve its intended purposes and to achieve a success.

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