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USCIS's Big Ban on Blanks!

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

It is unsurprising that this Administration, which brought us policies like "Zero Tolerance Family Separation" and "No Dark Courtrooms", has recently unfurled one of the craziest policies yet: "No Blank Space". This latest policy, which we all wish was merely an opinionated detestation of Taylor Swift's hit song, is arguably the most ridiculous policy yet to be unleashed by this administration.

Whether "No Blank Space" is or isn't the brainchild of Stephen Miller, one thing is certain: it's not just senseless, but downright idiotic. The policy was concocted with the sole intention of punishing foreign nationals for having to deal with USCIS because they were not "fortunate" enough to have been born in the USA.

So if the "No Blank Space" policy is not any sort of agency referendum on Ms. Swift's song, then what is it exactly?

The "No Blank Space" policy is a top-down decision by USCIS to deny any application submitted by a foreign national if a space is left blank rather than filled in with the term "N/A". What's more, USCIS will not only deny the application but keep the exorbitant fee that was submitted by the foreign national, which can amount to thousands of dollars in hard-earned money. Literally, USCIS has denied applications because an applicant inadvertently left at least one field empty, fields such as “Middle name”, “Other Names Used”, “Name in Native Alphabet”, and “Passport/Travel Doc #”.

As a matter of fact, leaving those specific fields empty were among the most common reasons for denying applications under the "No Blank Space" policy!

To add context to the lunacy behind this policy, USCIS has been processing applications that contained blank spaces for decades. Since USCIS is funded completely by fees that it collects, any economic inefficiency that may result will not be borne by U.S. taxpayers. Accordingly, there is literally no reason for USCIS to now implement such a harsh and unjust policy that one would have difficulty finding to exist in any other U.S. government agency.

Worse yet, USCIS has been rejecting applications wherein at least one field failed to contain the term "N/A", notwithstanding that USCIS's own instructions for the respective form stated to fill in the field with an equivalent answer, such as “none” or “not applicable".

As an easy example of this exact scenario, consider that the instructions for Form I-589 (asylum applications) state the following: “If any question does not apply to you or you do not know the information requested, answer ‘none’, ’not applicable,’ or "unknown.’”

Nevertheless, applicants have reportedly had their entire applications denied because they responded to at least one inapplicable question by writing "Not applicable" instead of writing "N/A", even though the form's instructions specifically directed applicants to write the words "Not Applicable" to some of the questions.

As stated earlier, it is unfair for USCIS to be allowed to stoop to this level of unreasonableness in adjudicating applications. The "No Blank Space" policy is simply a pretext that USCIS is using to deny applications and further chill the submission of immigration applications. This, in turn, reduces the flow of legal immigrants into the U.S.

Prior to the implementation of this policy, there was a similar unjust policy that USCIS was touting and enforcing. That particular policy involved an immigration applicant's failure to submit all of the evidence needed by USCIS to adjudicate an application. Under that policy, if an immigration applicant forgot to include the correct number of passport photos with his/her application, USCIS was denying the application rather than issuing a Request for Initial Evidence ("RFIE") or a Request for Evidence ("RFE"). In addition, USCIS would retain the expensive fee that had been paid to USCIS by the immigration applicant.

Foreign nationals submitting applications to USCIS should be extremely aware of these despicable "Gotcha!" policies that USCIS is using to thwart all U.S. immigration. These policies will have an extremely negative effect on USA's quest for global talent. Foreign news media outlets have already convinced citizens of other nations to consider working in the U.S. only as a last resort. It is myopic to think that these types of policies will not come back to haunt us in the end.

For news stories addressing the "No Blank Space" policy see The Trump administration’s no-blanks policy is the latest Kafkaesque plan designed to curb immigration, and The Administration Is Rejecting Visa Applications With Blank Spaces. In addition, more detailed information is available from the American Immigration Lawyers Association, at USCIS’s Blank Space Policy.

We assist countless foreign nationals and we will be happy to personally assist you with your application as well. Send us an E-mail or call us at (888)354-6257. For reasons on why you should consult an immigration attorney whenever you have an immigration issue, see our page titled: Reasons Why it is Vital to Use an Immigration Lawyer.



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