USCIS has implemented the first step in removing the requirement of certain nationals from registering with NSEERS. After September 11, 2001, certain nationals of countries were required to register with NSEERS. If they did not register with NSEERS, then USCIS could deny their green card application.
I remember taking many of my clients at the time, nearly 50 of them, that were subjected to this requirement. I took them by hand to the local USCIS office in Jacksonville, where I remained until each one was provided a FINS number to show proof that they complied with NSEERS registration. At that time many of my clients were scared because many of them were out of status and feared they would be arrested or placed in removal proceedings.
While none of my clients were arrested or even placed in removal proceedings, there were reports that individuals were arrested in the Tampa, FL area and other areas.
Thankfully, this period is now passing away, as USCIS has taken the first step to getting rid of this requirement of registering for NSEERS. Now, nationals of some of the countries are not required to register with NSEERS. Some of the countries now that are not required to register with NSEERS includes the following: Iran, Eqypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan Afghanistan and other countries.
However, the USCIS memo does not address how USCIS will handle cases where applicants now waiting for their green card did not comply with the previous NSEERS registration requirement. From experience, my understanding is that upon request, ICE will meet with applicants and allow them to register now, to meet the previous requirement. Of course, it is in ICE’s discretion and handled on a case-by-case basis. I also advise all applicants to be represented by counsel before they walk into ICE’s doors, to ensure their rights are protected.