A high number of noncitizens do not follow one of the central rules of immigration law: informing the INS of a change of address within ten days of such a change. This regulation was enacted fifty years ago in Section 265(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and any infringement can be considered a criminal offense.
However, the INS has not effectively enforced this law over the years. This lack of effective enforcement has led to an impairment of the U.S. government’s ability to enforce immigration laws in a speedy manner, and to locate noncitizens when necessary.
In direct response to this problem, the Attorney General is amending current regulations and forms to enhance and promote adherence to this legal requirement. Clear indications of noncitizens’ responsibilities to provide accurate current addresses to the INS will be incorporated into over thirty forms.
This rule will help avoid problems that may arise when the INS loses track of noncitizens within the U.S. This rule is also an important part of the Justice Department’s efforts to more successfully track noncitizens in the United States, and will aid the department in its continued efforts to enact the entry-exit tracking system, mandated by Congress to be fully functional by 2005.
The nearly three dozen improved Address Forms will ensure that noncitizens fully understand their obligation to provide accurate residential information to the INS. These improved forms do not require any further information; they simply enhance information about noncitizens’ rights and responsibilities.
Any time a noncitizen files one of these forms, they are acknowledging their obligation to provide change of address information to the INS. Noncitizens also recognize the consequences of not informing the INS of any change of address. Along with providing for a better tracking system, this new rule will also clarify the law for the INS, and will enable noncitizens to better exercise their rights when placed in removal proceedings.