On September 6, 2012, the U.S. Government Accounting Office ("GAO") ruled that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") memo advising states to apply for waivers under the welfare program constitutes a rule under the Congressional Review Act ("CRA"), which requires that rules be submitted to both houses and the GAO before they can go into effect. In recent years, the executive branch increasingly has relied on agency guidance and policy statements to avoid the lengthy notice and comment process that formal rulemaking requires and to maintain agency flexibility and discretion in often rapidly changing environments. The USCIS is one of the executive agencies that has made extensive use of such guidance and policy memos. It remains to be seen what impact the GAO ruling may have on the applicability of the CRA to the USCIS.
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GAO's welfare ruling may impact immigration rulemaking
This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorneys in connection with any fact-specific situation under federal law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and your company. © 2019 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.
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