At it's Ocotber 28 Statkeholder Meeting on Ethiopia, USCIS promised to post Notes form the meeting to its website for parents unable to attend the teleconference. The notes were published this week, but leave a lot of room for improvement:
"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invited stakeholders to call and discuss USCIS processing of Ethiopian adoption cases which the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is referring to USCIS as "not clearly approvable". Recently, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia, has identified a number of adoption petitions (Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as Immediate Relative) that it has determined are not clearly approvable (NCA), and thus, must be referred to USCIS for adjudication.
USCIS explained what “not clearly approvable” means and how the processing of such cases will unfold once the cases are referred to USCIS."
Today, DOS, Office of Children's Issues released a definition of "Not Clearly Approvable"
"Consular officers at U.S. Embassies and Consulates have limited, delegated authority from the United States Citizen and Immigration Service to approve Form I-600 petitions that are found to be clearly approvable. Clearly approvable means that the petition and supporting documentation clearly establish that the child is an orphan as defined by U.S. immigration law; all criteria identified on the Form I-600A approval regarding the child and any state pre-adoption requirements are met; and there are no concerns of fraud, child buying or other inappropriate practices in the adoption process.
In cases where the evidence is insufficient to establish that the child is an orphan or that the I-600A criteria have been met, the consular officer will allow the petitioner to respond to issues and questions that can be quickly and easily resolved. If issues and questions can be quickly and easily resolved and the case is clearly approvable the consular officer will approve the petition.
All non-Hague cases require an I-604 investigation to determine orphan status. In many instances this is a simple review of the documents and facts in the case. However, in some cases, an investigation by consular staff may be necessary to clarify doubts related to documentation presented or concerns of inappropriate practices. Investigations may include, but are not limited to, visits to the child's town of origin; interviews with birth relatives, orphanage staff, or social workers; DNA testing; and/or a field investigation.
If additional clarification and evidence does not fully resolve the issue quickly, the consular officer must send the petition to USCIS for review and adjudication. USCIS is the only agency with the authority to adjudicate NCA cases. If a case is identified as "Not Clearly Approvable", the consular officer sends the petitioner notification of the transfer to USCIS and provides contact information so that further inquiries may be directed to USCIS."
PEAR would like to suggest that USCIS and DOS publish a statement on how cases will unfold and what adoptive parents can expect if cases are referred to USCIS.
Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.