It went largely unremarked, just another bland procedural decision from a government agency. But a quiet policy change at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services last month is the next step toward a nationwide purge of non-citizens.
On June 28, USCIS announced that non-citizens who apply for a “benefit”–such as an extension or change of status, a green card, or citizenship—would be placed in deportation proceedings if that benefit is denied. For years, a criminal conviction has been required to be fast-tracked for deportation. Now, merely losing your petition for visa extension, being charged with a crime, or doing something DHS considers to be criminal (even if never arrested or charged) places you on the same fast-track.