The American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) analysed the recently published data on processing times of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which has reached crisis level delays under the Trump administration in processing immigrant and non-immigrant petitions. These delays are having grave impact on families, vulnerable populations, and U.S. businesses that depend on timely adjudications.
Upon analysing the USCIS data from fiscal years 2014 through 2018, the AILA revealed that the USCIS is failing to adjudicate cases in a reasonable and appropriate manner. The AILA stated as under:
- Average processing time surged by 46 percent over the past two fiscal years and 91 percent since FY 2014.
- USCIS processed 94 percent of its form types more slowly in FY 2018 than in FY 2014.
- Case processing times increased substantially in FY 2018 even as the volume of the cases decreased.
- USCIS’s “net backlog” exceeded 2.3 million at the end of the FY 2017, amounting to an increase of more than 100 percent since the conclusion of FY 2016 despite only a 4 percent increase in the number of cases.
AILA suggests that the USCIS should prioritize immigration enforcement by withdrawing a series of policies introduced within the past two years which has caused delays. The USCIS should enhance transparency in processing and the impact of its policies on adjudication by providing additional information to the public. AILA further states that the Congress must conduct rigorous oversight to support the USCIS in achieving greater transparency and accountability.
Pradnya Sawant, Associate
Keywords: AILA, USCIS, Delay in processing timeline, Trump administration