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Immigration policies more easily available via new online manual

Thanks to the advent of the internet, numerous types of transactions are done much more quickly than they once were, from purchasing merchandise to sending letters, buying movie tickets to when people send money overseas online or through a smartphone. And as the world becomes more web savvy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is adjusting to this new, online-age reality.

Recently, USCIS announced its transition to making various immigration policies and rules available online rather than one written out in multiple books or catalogs. Immigration officials say they didn’t make this decision lightly, but rather incorporated the thoughts and opinions of many different agency employees, consumers and interest groups.

Alejandro Mayorkas, director of USCIS, indicated that this new policy will make immigration information more widely available and to a greater number of people both in the U.S. and the world at large.

“With the introduction of the Policy Manual, we take a further step to provide our customers, stakeholders and workforce with an efficient and effective adjudication process that provides a high level of quality and consistency,” said Mayorkas.

For those who are unfamiliar with this informative piece of documentation the USCIS Policy Manual is just as its name suggests: It chronicles all the guidelines and policies in today’s U.S. immigration system. But because these policies can change quite frequently, the information often has to be adjusted or amended. Making the manual available online will not only give more people access to this information, but it will enable officials to change various statutes when needed.

Centralized Policy Manual will be more comprehensive with time
Currently, USCIS uses the Adjudicators Field Manual. The new policy manual will present consumers with much of the same information, but over time, it will become even more comprehensive than it is already, detailing important information regarding citizenship, visa issuance and the application process as well as knowledge about adjustment of status procedures, asylum protection, waivers and employment opportunities.

The guidelines and procedures laid out in the policy manual have yet to go into effect fully, but they will starting on January 22. At this time, USCIS says a somewhat limited amount of information is available to consumers, as only the first volume has been made public. However, as more volumes are added to the manual, the public will be apprised and invited to comment on any changes to policy that may or may not be welcomed.

Adaptability to host country’s societal norms demonstrated through online activity
It’s little wonder that USCIS has taken steps toward developing a more centralized, online access point to gather immigration-related information. A variety of studies indicate that U.S. citizens use the internet more frequently than any other nation, and is also more widely available to a greater number of people. And the frequency with which the people from a host country use the internet is often exemplified in immigrants that live there.

According to a recent study conducted by researchers from Nanyang Technological University and the National Institute of Education, intercultural adaptation is often demonstrated through immigrants’ internet usage. The study’s analysts discovered that as a general rule, the longer an immigrant stays in a host country, the more likely they are to visit websites that are frequented by others who live there. This often helps them assimilate into the cultures and societal norms of the country they’ve moved to.

Helpful links:

USCIS Policy Manual

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