USCIS Processing Delays Have Now Hit Crisis Levels
AILA, the national bar association of immigration lawyers, comprised of over 15,000 members located in every state in the U.S. and worldwide, has put together some useful information for those experiencing immigration-cases approval delays.
Why Hasn’t Your Case Been Decided Yet?
Nationwide, you and millions of families, businesses, and people applying for humanitarian relief are waiting longer for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process and approve your applications and petitions.
Five years ago, an average case was taking about five months to process. By Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, that same applicant waited nearly 10 months. Those extra months of waiting halt business operations, keep families separated, and jeopardize people’s lives.
Who Is Affected?
You and other people applying for family-based benefits, employment-based benefits, naturalization, travel documents, and employment authorization are all experiencing delays. In FY2018, a staggering 94 percent of all immigration petitions and application form types took longer to process when compared to FY2014.
Why Are Cases Taking Longer?
Many factors can slow down your case. New policies at USCIS are restricting legal immigration. For example, one policy requires USCIS officers to conduct duplicate reviews of past decisions, adding unnecessary work to each case.
Such inefficient policies help explain why processing times are increasing even as USCIS application rates are decreasing. Recent USCIS data shows that USCIS’s average processing time rose by 19 percent from FY2017 to FY2018, even while overall numbers of case receipts declined by 13 percent during that same period.
Congress intended USCIS to function as a service-oriented agency on behalf of the American people. But the agency is failing its mission with unacceptably and increasingly slow case processing.
The Invisible Wall
As Trump demands a border wall, his administration has successfully made it more difficult for legal immigrants to enter the country to work, visit family and flee violence and poverty. Some of the legal immigration changes are as important, or even more important, than building the wall.
Dramatic changes in USCIS policy under the Trump administration have undermined the legal immigration system that the agency was created to facilitate.
This AILA webpage provides key updates, analysis, media coverage, and other resources that bring the nature and destructive impacts of these changes into relief. The page also highlights how members and the public can join AILA in holding USCIS accountable for failing its statutory mission—a failure causing hardship to families, vulnerable populations, and U.S. businesses around the country. Through this accountability initiative, AILA strives for a service-oriented, fair, and efficient USCIS—the one that Congress envisioned and the public deserves.
What Can you Do?
- Make sure our office has your updated contact information, as well as any changes in your status or travel plans
- Email our office if you have any questions about your expectations for processing your case. We can guide you and help you plan for any delays.