Significant backlog issues have caused processing delays for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for the past few years.
While the current administration has taken actions to improve the situation, many immigrants still face uncertainty as they struggle to renew crucial documents. Furthermore, delays cause difficulties for people seeking to obtain legal status for themselves or their family members.
The impact of delays
Slow processing times at USCIS affect a wide range of people because the agency is responsible for many different tasks. For example, USCIS grants and renews work permits, and a person who encounters processing delays might lose the ability to earn a living. Green cards are also the responsibility of USCIS. As a result, people eligible for permanent residence in the United States may have trouble receiving green cards in a timely fashion.
In addition, the agency handles cases related to asylum-seekers who may not be safe in their counties of origin. Finally, USCIS processes applications for citizenship in the United States. Many immigrants spend years trying to become citizens and must now deal with further delays.
Reasons for dysfunction
Processing inefficiencies have been a problem at USCIS for years, and a decline in immigration in 2020 decreased the funds available at the agency. When immigration rates increased the following year, the backlog began to grow. Recent policy changes at the agency have changed priorities, streamlined processes and reallocated resources to address the delays. In the meantime, many immigrants must live with the stress and insecurity of struggling to obtain and renew essential documents that allow them to reside and work in this country.
A backlog at the USCIS causes issues for many groups of people, from guest workers to asylum seekers. Immigrants experiencing delays can discuss their options with an attorney.