USCIS Strengthens Screening for Refugees' Family Members

At the beginning of February, USCIS and the Department of State implemented new protocols to ensure that all individuals admitted as refugees undergo the same, comprehensive vetting--whether they are principal refugees, accompanying family members, or following-to-join refugees.

A following-to-join refugee is defined as the spouse or child of a principal refugee, but who lives abroad and wishes to join the principal refugee in the U.S. These measures were created during the 120-day review mandated by section 6(a) of Executive Order 13780, which directed the Department of Homeland Security to establish additional procedures should be enforced to ensure that individuals seeking admission as refugees are not considered a threat to national security and the welfare of the country.

The following are new security measures which apply to following-to-join refugees processed overseas:

  1. Making sure that following-to-join refugees obtain the complete baseline interagency screening and vetting checks which other refugees receive.
  2. Requesting that the following-to-join refugee submit his or her Form I-590 (Registration for Classification as Refugee) in support of the principal refugee’s Form I-730 (Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition), earlier in the adjudication process. USCIS or the Department of State will reach out directly to petitioners to ask for this information.
  3. Vetting specific nationals or stateless individuals against classified databases.

For more information, contact our Phoenix immigration attorney at Kanu & Associates, P.C. today. We will do everything possible to protect your human rights and your freedom as best as we possibly can.