Under the current administration, case processing delays at USCIS has reached unprecedented levels. According to a study by AILA, USCIS’s overall average case processing time grew by 19% in 2018 alone. Immigrant families, people fleeing persecutions as well as American businesses all bear the grave consequences of such delay.
What is the government’s excuse?
A USCIS spokesperson responded to the AILA study by blaming the volume of applications the agency received. He claimed 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.”
Are application rates really higher?
The simple answer is no. The total volume of cases USCIS received fell by approximately 1,000,000 from 2017 to 2018, which accounts for a 13% decrease. The fact remains: case processing delays skyrocketed even as application rates fell by a substantial margin.
And latest data shows that the overall average case processing time has continued to grow through the first quarter of 2019. For instance, the nationwide average processing time for employment-based green cards rose by 11%. For special immigration petitions – including applicants seeking humanitarian relief who have suffered serious abuse – processing times has grown by 350% since the end of 2019.
What is the primary cause for the massive backlog and delay?
Even the Department of Homeland Security itself admitted to Congress that is policies have been a contributing factor to USCIS’s increasing case backlog. USCIS’s response to its own systemic operation failures is grossly inadequate. All at the expense of the millions of petitioners whose livelihood depends on a decision on immigration benefits.
For more information, read this article by Jason Boyd, a policy counsel with AILA’s Government Relations department.
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