While waits as long as two years to process an immigration application have become standard, some applications are taking up to 7 years – particularly employment visa applications. Despite actions being taken by the government to improve processing times, immigration lawyers are saying the application backlogs are increasing, not decreasing. As a result, immigration lawyers are suing the government to end application backlogs.
A House Judiciary Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee hearing on July 16 reported that the backlog at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stands at 2.4 million cases as of May 2019, the “largest net backlog since 2003,” when immigration adjudications “ground to a halt” in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship. Democrats blame the Trump administration for adding more red tape and delays to the application process, while Republicans say the Democrat’s immigration programs cause the delays.
According to a report by Bloomberg Law:
- Applications to be classified as a regional center—an investment vehicle under the EB-5 immigrant investor program—are now taking anywhere between 30 and 85 months to adjudicate, per USCIS calculations.
- A foreign investor seeking a green card through the EB-5 program is looking at a wait time of between 27.5 and 49 months.
- A petition to sponsor someone for an EB-1 green card for multinational executives or managers can take anywhere from 6.5 months to 10.5 months, while an application to replace a green card takes between 12 and 12.5 months.
- Petitions to sponsor a worker for an H-1B specialty occupation visa takes between two and 8.5 months to adjudicate, while petitions to extend an H-1B visa run between two and 13.5 months.
- Applications for work permits through the optional practical training program can take upward of five months. The program allows international students on F-1 visas to work in the U.S. for a period of time after graduation.
USCIS spokeswoman Jessica Collins said in an email:
“The truth is that while many factors relating to an individual’s case can affect processing times, waits are often due to higher application rates rather than slow processing. That is why USCIS has implemented a range of process and operational reforms, hired additional staff, and expanded its facilities to ensure its ability to adjudicate keeps pace with extraordinary demand for its services over recent years.”
Immigration attorneys say they have no choice but to sue, says Bloomberg Law:
“They’ve removed any reasonable way to inquire about a case,” said Tammy Fox-Isicoff of Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff in Miami. “We are left with no alternative,” she said.”
United States immigration laws are complicated and updated frequently. Mistakes in immigration applications can be costly and stressful and can result in denial of your petition or delays. An Immigration Simplified attorney can review your 245(i) Green Card through adjustment of status eligibility and guide you through the application process. We review your situation, provide you with the proper forms and help you submit your application. Contact us today to get started. Please contact our office or call us at (312) 883-9944.
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