HOW TO OBTAIN LIAISON
WITH RESPECT TO THE
MISSOURI SERVICE CENTER
I. Purpose of Liaison
The purpose of the liaison program is to assist members
in resolving issues in cases unrelated to legal theories
or factual allegations that may be in dispute. The
liaison program is to be used to address problems that
cannot be resolved effectively through legal advocacy. It
exists to facilitate communication between the membership
and the MSC, not to assist individual members in the
presentation or advocacy of individual cases. Guidelines
governing liaison with the MSC have been modeled after
those governing liaison with the other Service Centers,
and any similarity has been expressly intended.
II. General Guidelines
Attempts At Direct Resolution
Unlike the other Service Centers, the MSC has to date
provided no methods by which direct resolution of
problems appropriate for liaison can be completed.
Accordingly these guidelines do not require members to
attempt direct resolution before requesting liaison
It is anticipated that direct contact and resolution
procedures will be established by the MSC in the near
future; when established, these will be published. At
that point, members will be required to attempt direct
resolution before requesting liaison services.
MSC Processing Guidelines
Similarly MSC has not yet had a chance to publish
processing guidelines. Accordingly there is no processing
guidelines manual available for consultation.
In an effort to establish formulaic filing patterns, the
MSC liaison committee will comply and publish suggestions
from the INS leadership group at MSC, until a processing
guidelines manual can be published from that facility.
The MSC uses the same procedure as does the NSC for
requesting an expedite. The liaison program is not the
appropriate vehicle for requesting an expedite of any
matter. The appropriate procedure for requesting an
expedite at MSC is as follows:
a.) When the benefit is needed in a time frame
that is less than the normal MSC processing times, and
b.) When that short time frame was not caused by
less than diligent application procedures on the part of
the applicant or petitioner, or
c.) When there is a great humanitarian need, or
d.) When there are great financial consequences at
e.) When Service error has caused the need for
Requests that do not meet these criteria will not be
granted and delayed processing will inevitably result.
To request an expedite, state "PLEASE EXPEDITE"
in the heading of the letter which requests expeditious
processing and addresses the criteria listed above. Also
note the expedite request on the envelope. This request
can be made at the time of filing or by letter after the
filing of an application or petition.
If submitted, prepaid return express delivery envelopes (either
US Post Office or private delivery service) will be
used by MSC to deliver the information/document
requested. It is recommended that one be submitted with
the expedite request.
Request For Assistance From Multiple Sources
The liaison program should not be used where
Congressional assistance or other sources are being
utilized. Use of multiple avenues of inquiry causes the
MSC to waste its efforts attempting to locate the
relevant file, and can result in the MSC's inability to
find the file because it is in transit as a result of a
parallel inquiry. Such multiple sourcing creates
redundant workload, thus generating commensurate ill will
at the MSC.
Liaison Representatives Are Volunteers/Program Is New
Members are asked to keep in mind that all liaison
representatives are volunteers, contributing their time,
effort and financial resources to the liaison program.
Although there is never any place for abusive behavior
toward one's colleagues, this is particularly true when
seeking and/or receiving liaison services.
Members are also asked to keep in mind that the MSC
itself, and this liaison program, are newly created.
Several rough edges will need to be worked through before
a smoothly functioning liaison machine is established.
The patience and indulgence of AILA members, along with
suggestions for improvement, are most welcome.
III. Appropriate Requests For Liaison Service
The following are considered to be appropriate
requests for liaison services:
1. Inquiries concerning cases significantly
outside the most recently published adjudication time
parameters. Reference in such requests should always be
made to the most recent MSC Processing Time Report,
published by AILA on the InfoNet, as and when received
from MSC (members are strongly urged to consider INS'
in computing applicable time parameters). As of this
writing the first report has not yet been provided;
2. Substantive error on receipt or approval
notice. Incorrect dates, incorrect name spellings,
misdirection of notices to consulates or to incorrect
consulates, incorrect status dates, etc.;
3. Clear misstatement of law or policy in an RFE
or decision. Requests involving such matters should
specify what the misstatement is, what the correct
law/policy is, and provide a photocopy of the RFE or
decision and correct law or policy recitation along with
a completed AILA-MSC Inquiry Form;
4. General, boilerplate RFE not specific about
what the adjudicator is requesting. If you receive a
"shotgun" RFE that fails to specify what is
requested, please include a photocopy of the RFE along
with a completed AILA-MSC Inquiry Form.
IV. Requests NOT Appropriate For Liaison Services
The following types of requests are inappropriate for
1. Requests to expedite processing. In all but
emergent circumstances (e.g., unanticipated "age
out"), the expedite process in use at MSC as stated
above should be utilized;
2. RFE or decision disputable on the law, facts or
evidence. AILA has confidence in the advocacy skills of
its individual members, and accordingly does not provide
liaison services for the purposes of advocacy in any
3. RFE requesting evidence that has already been
submitted in the original filing. Liaison representatives
do not have access to individual files, and accordingly
are not capable of determining whether the evidence in
question was/was not submitted, whether the evidence in
question was lost in transmission from receipt point to
the adjudicator, or whether the adjudicator has simply
missed evidence that is in fact in the file. Regrettably,
members confronted with this situation must respond to
the RFE. (However, informing the Liaison Representative
of such RFEs will provide good feedback information to
4. Cases within most recently published processing
time guidelines. The MSC has committed to publishing its
processing times each month, and these will be posted on
AILA InfoNet immediately. Members are asked to note that
processing times tend to change while individual filings
are pending, and are therefore encouraged to consult the
latest published report before requesting liaison