In the past few months, the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship convened a hearing to demand answers from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials about the continual increase in immigration processing delays. Currently, there is a 2.4 million application and petition backlog, which is the largest it has been since processing delays that occurred following September 11, 2001. These delays have had a significantly detrimental impact on some applicants, including families suffering from prolonged separations due to the delays. Businesses also are losing key employees and abandoning new projects as a result of these extensive delays.
Many attribute the continuing delays to new policies and procedures that the Trump Administration has enacted. These policies are creating more red tape and administrative burdens on petitioners, as well as constant requests for more information and increases in denial rates.
According to USCIS officials, demand typically increases before a presidential election and then dips back down to more normal levels. In this case, demand increased in 2016, but the anticipated decrease has yet to occur. As a result, USCIS is understaffed for the demand, which the agency characterizes as unprecedented.
USCIS officials also noted that a backlog existed before the election, but has increased. They also stated that new security policies and requirements have necessitated closer scrutiny of documentation and more personal interviews, which have contributed to the backlog.
USCIS claims that increased fees to support increased hiring, technological processing developments, and shifting existing staff and workloads all could help address the backlog. Still, USCIS officials admit that addressing this level of a backlog will take a significant amount of time.
Our goal is to assist you with your immigration concerns, whether family or business-based. We can evaluate your situation and develop a strategy that is most likely to be efficient and effective in your case. Regardless of the immigration matter that you are facing, the attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience, knowledge, and reputation that you want and need to advocate on your behalf. When results matter most, contact us at (512) 474-4445.