The Biden administration has recently updated the policy manual for calculating a non-citizen’s age in certain situations under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), which will be beneficial for Indians and other non-citizens seeking long-term visas.
The policy change relates to the issue of children who “age out” during the immigration process – if a child turns 21 during the process, they are no longer eligible to immigrate with the parent based on their parent’s petition.
Under the updated guidance, USCIS will use the Dates for Filing chart to calculate these non-citizens’ ages for CSPA purposes, which will provide more certainty about their eligibility to adjust their status. The policy change is effective immediately and applies to pending applications.
What is the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA)?
Congress enacted the CSPA to protect certain noncitizen children from losing eligibility to obtain lawful permanent resident status based on an approved visa petition by providing a method to calculate the child’s age that considers when an immigrant visa number “becomes available.”
How will the policy change benefit non-citizens?
The policy change will be beneficial for children who “age out” during the immigration process. Previously, USCIS considered a visa available for purposes of the CSPA age calculation based only on the Final Action Date chart, even if a noncitizen could apply for adjustment of status using the earlier date in the “Dates for Filing” chart.
However, under the updated guidance, USCIS will now use the Dates for Filing chart to calculate these non-citizens’ ages for CSPA purposes, which provides these non-citizens with more certainty about their eligibility to adjust their status. This change is effective immediately and applies to pending applications.
If non-citizens with a pending application are eligible to adjust their status because of the change in policy and they have filed for adjustment of status, they will also be eligible to apply for employment and travel authorisation based on their pending adjustment of status application.
What impact will the policy change have on the immigration process?
This policy change will not prevent all children from ageing out before an immigrant visa is available to them, nor will it prevent children from losing nonimmigrant status derived from their parents upon reaching the actual age of 21. However, the USCIS continues to explore all options available under the law to aid this population.
The policy change will likely benefit thousands of non-citizens who have already aged out and will protect several thousand more for future years, especially because of the “retrogression” swings in the visa bulletins in past years.
This change is a small but important step in addressing the issues of aged-out children who came to the US legally with their parents.
What are the reactions to the policy change?
Dip Patel, from improvethedream.org, which has been leading such an effort on behalf of aged-out children numbering over 200,000, said the USCIS will use the dates for the filing chart to determine CSPA age and any previously denied petition can be reopened.
US Congresswoman Deborah Ross applauded USCIS for taking action to protect some of the 200,000 Documented Dreamers who call the United States home.
Ross introduced the bipartisan, bicameral America’s CHILDREN Act to provide a path to permanent residency to Documented Dreamers.
(Source and Inputs from PTI News)
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