WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 7, 2019 – Today, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) filed suit in United States District Court for the District of Columbia to ensure a workable transition over to new forms as the administration seeks to implement the public charge rule. The case is American Immigration Lawyers Association, et. al. v. Cuccinelli, 1:19-cv-02835. The complaint seeks to immediately enjoin U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from moving forward with its arbitrary and capricious plan to stop accepting the current versions of Forms I-485, I-129, I-539, I-864, and I-864EZ, if postmarked on or after October 15, 2019, despite having failed to publish necessary revised and new forms.
Marketa Lindt, AILA President noted, “The agency’s recent announcement that it would stop accepting forms without any meaningful notice to the affected immigrants, families, businesses and their legal representatives, places unacceptable and unnecessary burdens on our communities and the workforce. The decision to litigate is never undertaken lightly. In this case, the need for a smooth transition and clarifying agency guidance is essential given the enormity of the disruptive impact that this sudden change would have on so many businesses and immigrants. Despite being one week from implementation, USCIS has not even published the new versions of the mandatory forms and the regulation in question provides for no transition or grace period for the use of older forms. Before filing this lawsuit, AILA reached out to multiple federal agencies about providing for a workable transition, to no avail. We recognize that a number of other stakeholders are already litigating on the substance of the public charge rule, and we support those efforts. AILA’s lawsuit is focused on the unreasonable refusal by the agency to accept any application that is not submitted on its new forms despite the fact that we are only eight days away from the deadline, and the new forms have not even been published.”
Jesse Bless, Director of Federal Litigation at AILA added, “Petitions and applications can take weeks or months to assemble and submit properly. Having these major changes in policy set to begin in eight days with no new forms to be seen, and the government insisting that no old forms will be accepted as of that date, would be laughable if we weren’t talking about incredibly important changes in peoples’ lives and livelihoods. In years past, when a change was made, a grace or transition period was set if new forms weren’t yet available. AILA has brought this lawsuit with Parrilli Renison, LLC, a highly regarded immigration law firm suffering from the arbitrary decision of USCIS. Although we attempted to resolve this injustice without litigation, USCIS failed to consider our reasonable demands for an adequate, 60-day grace period. AILA remains committed to serving its members in every possible way, including litigation, where appropriate and necessary. Such is the case here.”