In a March 13, 2014 letter to Joseph Crowley, Member, US House of Representatives, recently obtained by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, USCIS Chief James W. McCament claims that, “USCIS does not endorse or encourage the use of EDGE over other types of credible resource material regarding the equivalency of the educational credentials to college degrees obtained in the United States.”

We respectfully beg to disagree. In fact, we would suggest that nothing could be further from the truth.

This response is of particular interest to Philippine educated physical therapists who have five-year “bachelor” degrees in physical therapy that many, including FCCPT, believe are equivalent to US master’s degrees in physical therapy, thus making them eligible for classification in the EB-2  immigrant petition preference category.

While I understand that from the perspective of making a public statement about a USCIS policy, Mr. McCament probably felt the need to make a bland “we look at everything” kind of claim, the simple truth of the matter is, his statement is nothing short of a blatant misrepresentation of current USCIS practice.

I have read far, far too many denials of EB-2 petitions for Philippine educated physical therapists which claim the denial was made based solely on the fact that EDGE does not recognize the Philippines degree as being the equivalent of a US master’s degree, to believe that USCIS does not endorse or encourage the use of EDGE.

Not only does USCIS endorse and encourage the use of EDGE, it practically requires slavish adherence to EDGE. We have submitted numerous petitions with which we have provided multiple credible educational evaluations which indicate the Philippines degree is equal to a US master’s degree, as well as letters from state licensing boards (the very people responsible for making the ultimate determination as to whether a foreign educated physical therapist may touch patients in the US), that indicate the Philippines degree is equal to a US master’s degree, and still we receive denials that simply state, “EDGE says it isn’t”. End of decision.

The fact that so many petitions have been denied in this manner makes it clear this is not the work of some rogue USCIS officer; rather, it is part of a well orchestrated plan (and policy) to deny these petitions using the EDGE database as the reason. As the sole reason. To suggest otherwise and claim all credible resources are considered is completely ludicrous.

Rather than dance around the question by denying USCIS does what we all know it does, Mr. McCarment simply should have said, “EDGE is our ultimate resource. What are you going to do about it?” I much prefer being clubbed over the head to being lied to. At least that way, you really know what you’re dealing with.