A major change that has taken place at USCIS Application Support Centers (ASCs) all over the US in the past few months: Applicants will be fingerprinted regardless of the quality of their identification.
ASCs are located in each state and are responsible for capturing the biometrics of foreign nationals whenever they apply for any permanent immigration benefit, such as permanent residence, naturalization and work authorization. Biometrics consist of the digital photo and 10 fingerprints of an applicant. This information is stored by USCIS and checked against criminal, international and terrorism information databases.
In the past, the ASCs would often turn away applicants when they presented a photo ID that was in any way questionable. This policy made sense except for the fact that foreign nationals applying for a first time US immigration benefit, would have no way to obtain proper photo identification, prior to actually applying to the USCIS, thereby leaving the applicant with the primordial chicken or the egg problem.
The policy is now changed. Applicants will no longer be turned away when their identification documents are insufficient or questionable. This change was made due to two factors: (1) a recognition that it is extremely difficult for foreign nationals who are in the process of immigration applications to have, or obtain documentation in the United States due to the increased levels of scrutiny and documentation requirements levied at the state level to issue identity documents; and (2) the USCIS recognized that it would rather have the fingerprints and photographs of persons using sketchy or fraudulent documents in the USCIS system than turn those persons away to return to find a more acceptable type of fraudulent document.
This change is welcome and demonstrates a level of down to earth, practical real world understanding that is often lacking in USCIS polices, not to mention that it also better protects US national security interests and expands our knowledge database of who is in our country.
- The Gym Wants My Fingerprints: A Biometric ID Dilemma (dailyfinance.com)