On Wednesday 30 January, the delay in the handling of citizenship and green cards’ applications along with other benefits of immigration by the government of the United States was condemned by immigration lawyers.
Over a four year period, waiting times for applications for citizenship and green cards increased by almost a hundred percent despite only a slight increase in the numbers of applications received according to the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Families and Businesses Affected Alike
American Immigration Lawyers Association consists of over 15,000 law professors as well as immigration. As stated in a report, the group said the delays surrounding these applications are hurting families and businesses in the US that rely on timely adjudication.
The association accused U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of acting like an arm of the Department of Homeland and Security hence drifting from its purpose of serving immigrant applicants.
There is the need for greater transparency and more oversight by the Congress, the association said.
Responding to the situation, a spokesman for USCIS revealed that in a systematic attempt to speed up the processes, the agency recently opened three new field offices as well as expanded another ten. The workforce handling the processes has increased by 38 percent in just five years, he said.
While several factors peculiar to different cases affect processing time, the delays are usually caused by higher application rates in contrast to the low processing rates claim, the spokesman said.
The lawyers pointed out that applications only increased by four percent between 2014 and 2018 according to a 2018 report by DHS. In 2016, nationwide naturalization wait time was 5.6 months which increased to 10.2 months in 2018, revealed the agency.
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