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DHS/USICE RIN: 1653-AA71 Publication ID: Fall 2016 
Title: Eligibility Checks of Nominated and Current Designated School Officials of Schools That Enroll F and M Nonimmigrant Students and of Exchange Visitor Program-Designated Sponsors of J Nonimmigrants 
Abstract:

The rule would improve the capability of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to oversee access to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) for designated school officials (DSOs) at schools certified to enroll F and M nonimmigrant students and for responsible officers (ROs) and alternate responsible officers (AROs) that oversee designated sponsors' J nonimmigrant participants in exchange programs. Establishment of an eligibility check process for certain officials would improve oversight prior to permitting access to SEVIS and prior to appointment or continued eligibility as such an official. This rule would better position DHS to identify, intervene and prevent possible criminal activities or threats to national security that could result from non-compliance.

 
Agency: Department of Homeland Security(DHS)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Undetermined  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: uncollected 
CFR Citation: 8 CFR 214.3   
Legal Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1101    8 U.S.C. 1102    8 U.S.C. 1003   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

The rule would strengthen the mechanism for approving user access to SEVIS. DHS, as well as the Department of State (DOS), rely on principal designated school officials, designated school officials, responsible officers, and alternate responsible officers (collectively, P/DSOs  P/DSOs and ROs/AROs) as key links in the process to mitigate potential threats to national security and ensure compliance with immigration law from aliens admitted into the United States in F, J, or M nonimmigrant status. Through this rule, DHS would require that anyone nominated to serve as a P/DSO or RO/ARO receive a favorable SEVIS Access Approval Process (SAAP) assessment prior to their appointment and subsequent approval for access to SEVIS.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

  • Sections 101(a)(15)(F), (J) and (M), of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended (INA) 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(F), (J) and (M), which establish the F-1, J-1, and M-1 classifications (and associated derivative classifications).

  • Section 641 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, 8 U.S.C. 1372, which authorized the following:

    • Creation of a program to collect current and ongoing information provided by schools and EVP sponsors regarding F, J, or M nonimmigrants during their stays in the United States;

    • Use of electronic reporting technology where practicable; and

    • DHS certification of schools to participate in F-1 or M-1 student enrollment.

  • Homeland Security Presidential Directive No. 2 (HSPD-2), Combating Terrorism Through Immigration Policies, which, following the USA PATRIOT Act, requires DHS to conduct periodic reviews of all institutions certified to receive nonimmigrant students and exchange visitor program students that include checks for compliance with record keeping and reporting requirements, and authorizes termination of certification for institutions that fail to comply. See 37 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs. 1570, 1571-72 (October 29, 2001).

  • Section 502 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002,8 U.S.C. 1762, which directs DHS to review compliance with recordkeeping and reporting requirements under 8 U.S.C. 1372 and INA section 101(a)(15)(F), (J) and (M), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(F), (J) and (M), of all schools approved to receive F, J or M nonimmigrants within two years of enactment and every two years thereafter.

Alternatives:

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

DHS is in the process of determining the costs and benefits which would be incurred by regulated individuals with access to SEVIS, as well as the costs and benefits to DHS and DOS, to comply with the requirements of this rule. The rule would impose new vetting requirements for individuals prior to permitting access to SEVIS or continued eligibility for such access, which include an application process for the individuals and an approval process for DHS and DOS. The primary benefit of this rule would be to reduce the potential for fraud.

Risks:

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  04/00/2017 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: Undetermined 
Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Molly Stubbs
ICE Regulatory Coordinator
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
500 12th Street SW.,
Washington, DC 20536
Phone:202 732-6202
Email: molly.stubbs@ice.dhs.gov

Katherine H. Westerlund
Acting Section Chief, SEVP Policy, Student and Exchange Visitor Program
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Potomac Center North, STOP 5600, 500 12th Street SW,
Washington, DC 20536-5600
Phone:703 603-3400
Email: sevp@ice.dhs.gov

Brad Tuttle
Attorney Advisor
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
500 12th Street SW,
Washington, DC 20536
Phone:202 732-5000
Email: bradley.c.tuttle@ice.dhs.gov