Does Immigration Backlogs Have Reached “Crisis” Levels under Trump Administration?

In the last few years, immigration case processing times have increased dramatically. This delay in immigration processing causes a negative impact on U.S. businesses and immigrant families that leads to gaps in work authorization and even loss of employment.

According to the policy brief published by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, “the agency has reached “crisis” level delays in processing immigrant and non-immigrant petitions. These delays have worsened during the Trump administration.”

The report also reveals that the most vulnerable populations of these backlogs include,

  • Immigrant families
  • Domestic abuse survivors and their children
  • Traumatized and threatened persons seeking humanitarian aid and
  • U.S. businesses

The policy changes implemented by the Trump administration in 2017 and 2018 have increasingly shifted the agency away from its service-oriented mission. Moreover, the agency continues to erect barriers rather than focusing on simplifying and streamlining the benefit-delivery system.

The leading causes that exacerbated delays include,

  • The longstanding guidance that directed USCIS personnel to give deference to prior determinations when adjudicating nonimmigrant employment-based extension petitions involving the same position and the same employer. This compelled adjudicators to needlessly reexamine matters that are already satisfactorily assessed.
  • The backlog may also be the reflection of Director Cissna’s new mission statement that echoed President Trump’s emphasis on enforcement and removed the focus on customer satisfaction.
  • The overhaul of the refugee case adjudications brought processing of these applications to a halt.
  • The “Notice to Appear” policy that was put in place threatening to place a dramatically higher number of individuals into deportation proceedings whose applications and petitions are denied.

The report by the American Immigration Lawyers Association also examines how those delays harm families, vulnerable individuals, and U.S. businesses; how current USCIS policies lengthen, rather than mitigate slowdowns.

The Bottom Line

U.S. immigration law and regulations significantly affect how foreign nationals may qualify for immigrant visas, so it is important that you obtain up to date information about the provisions that apply to you. Get in touch with a green card immigration attorney Carlsbad who can help you prepare the forms and supporting documents with much less of your time involved and with much more accuracy.

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