Ur Mendoza Jaddou, the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has been pressed about the agency’s efforts to reduce the monumental backlogs that plague the immigration system. The request for answers comes after Director Jaddou spoke at her ulma mater, UCLA Law. During her address, several students walked out of the auditorium in protest. Those who left the address stated that they left out of anger that the USCIS continues to struggle with backlogs that leave many immigrants waiting for word about their status.

The Director has been under immense pressure to solve issues from previous administrations and years of issues from the pandemic and low staffing. The agency continues to struggle despite the Director’s efforts to push the agency forward. While the USCIS is at the forefront of the issue, consular offices and policy makers also have a part to play.

Efficient Processing Is Essential

Efficiency is key to the operation of an agency like the USCIS. Every year, millions of immigrants apply for immigration status, citizenship, refuge, and more. The agency has to process each and every application in a timely manner, but with this responsibility comes complications.

When the pandemic reached all time highs, consular offices in the United States and around the world shut down out of concern for infection. At the time, the Remain in Mexico policy was also in effect which kept migrants at the Mexican border waiting for hearings that were postponed due to the shutdowns.

Since restrictions relaxed in late 2021, the USCIS and other agencies have worked tirelessly to bring their work up to speed. However, policy changes have created additional delays as the USCIS dealt with what the changes would mean for the agency. The USCIS is responsible for executing immigration policy and to do so, has to change existing processes to be compliant.

Delays also impact already lengthy wait times. Immigration petitions, especially those for status changes and citizenship take years to process. The backlog has extended the wait time indefinitely which leaves many immigrants without current status and in jeopardy of removal.

The Impact of Delays

Delays complicate the processes necessary for the immigration system to run efficiently. These complications put pressure on those working on files to get them done at a quicker pace which makes them more vulnerable to error. When there is an error in an immigration application, it is denied.

Not only do denials jeopardize people in the immigration system, but they also impact the nation’s economy. Many businesses rely on work-based visas and foreign talent to thrive in a competitive global economy. Without access to talent, innovation could be negatively impacted.

What Happens Next?

More needs to be done on this matter, and the USCIS is making every effort to solve the problems that bog it down. While it’s important to see advancement thousands of immigrants are still struggling to get the safety and security they deserve.

For legal assistance with immigration, contact Smith Law Offices, LLC.

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