A recent trend has been for Service Centers to issue Notices to Appear (NTA) in Immigration Court for those who have applied for immigration benefits whose cases are denied. This means that the foreign-national is put into removal/deportation proceedings. Sometimes these notices specify a date for the hearing before an immigration judge and other times they do not.
It is therefore imperative to carefully examine one’s eligibility to adjust status prior to filing an I-485 Application. The answer to the question “what’s the worst that can happen?” is no longer that the USCIS simply denies the case, but that they place the foreign-national in removal proceedings.
If you receive an NTA, you should consult a qualified immigration lawyer immediately to explore all available options.