By: Yeon Me Kim
AILA, the professional membership organization for immigration attorneys, published a policy brief analyzing published USCIS data showing its processing times for the adjudication of various petitions and applications for immigration benefits. The organization’s analysis shows that USCIS is failing its Congressional mandate to efficiently process applications and petitions that render important benefits, including, but not limited to, work authorization, citizenship, and humanitarian protection. The brief reports that “[t]he overall average case processing time surged by 46 percent over the past two fiscal years and 91 percent since FY 2014”. What is more frustrating is the fact that USCIS case processing times significantly increased despite a notable decrease in case receipt volume in FY 2018. This has resulted in serious problems, including: separation of families, gaps in employment authorization, and employers who are unable to fill their critical workforce gaps. Untimely approval of humanitarian-based benefits has created vulnerable populations in the U.S., undermining the efforts of those who are trying to rebuild their lives in this country.