From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ 120-day goal for processing green cards is unrealistic, according to the Homeland Security Department’s Office of Inspector General.
The processing goal doesn’t take into account delays caused by interview scheduling as well as the time given to applicants to respond to requests for evidence, the OIG said in a report released March 14. Moreover, information about processing times posted on the agency’s website are confusing and inaccurate, the OIG said.
In fact, as of May 2017, the average actual time it took to complete a green card application in fiscal year 2017 was 282 days, the OIG said.
It’s not just RFEs and notices of intent to deny that cause delays, Anastasia Tonello of Laura Devine Attorneys in New York told Bloomberg Law March 14. If they were, those would be the only cases that take longer than 120 days, she said.
But “even cases that are processing on as they should be” are delayed, she said.
A representative for USCIS didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment.
USCIS agreed with the OIG’s recommendations that it reconsider its processing time goal and revamp its website to more accurately reflect the actual time it takes to complete a green card application, the report said.
The current format for posting processing times on USCIS’s website is “misleading,” Tonello said. “If they gave a more accurate representation, I think it would benefit everyone,” including the agency, she said.
That change could come soon, as USCIS Director Francis Cissna wrote to the OIG that it would be posting processing times in the new format in March. The agency also announced March 13 that it would be revamping its website “in a few days.”
Processing times were expected to increase even further with implementation of a new requirement that all applicants for employment-based green cards who apply from within the U.S. must have an in-person interview.
The additional processing times are on top of what can take years or decades of waiting for green cards to become available in the first place. The backlog is the result of overall limits on employment-based visas coupled with per-country caps.
USCIS can’t begin to process a green card application until a visa becomes available in a fiscal year.
The new interview requirement is “definitely causing delays,” Tonello said. She pointed to one case where the employer’s petition to sponsor the worker for a green card was approved in October of last year. The notice that the case was being transferred to the USCIS field office for the interview came in December, and notice of the interview—scheduled for mid-March—came in February, she said.
If the interview hadn’t been required, the worker’s green card likely would’ve been approved back in October, shortly after the employer’s petition was approved, Tonello said.
Instead of recommending that USCIS develop a more realistic processing time goal, the OIG should have looked at ways the agency could actually try and meet the 120-day goal, she said. “They could take away these unnecessary steps” like the new interviews, she said.
“You’ve taken an agency that isn’t meeting its goals” and “put all of this extra work on them,” Tonello said.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)