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Government changes process for refugees, asylum seekers who want to become permanent residents

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Tuesday announced the agency had changed the process for refugees and people seeking asylum to request permanent residency.

Under new guidance issued Tuesday, officers will determine whether or not to interview applicants on a case-by-case basis.

"All applicants for adjustment of status under INA 245 must be interviewed unless USCIS determines that the interview is unnecessary. The decision to interview an asylee or refugee adjustment applicant is made on a case-by-case basis," according to a policy alert posted by USCIS. "Interviews are generally required when an officer is unable to confirm identity or admissibility based solely on the immigration records available."

Interviews will allow officers to determine whether or not the person's documents are legitimate.

"The concern about fraud is: A lot of these refugees are coming in from countries that are far away from the United States, that probably have weak diplomatic ties with the United States," said Ricardo Ramirez, an immigration attorney, who added that weak document control measures in some countries may also be a cause for concern.

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