By Felicia J. Persaud
News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. June 21, 2019: In January 2019:
Jamila moved to the U.S. from Jamaica
to join her U.S. citizen spouse in Florida. Now she is stuck in limbo because
of a backlog in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, (USCIS) processing
times for work permits.
As such, the trained nurse cannot seek out a job or apply for a Social
Security card or a driver’s license because her work permit application that
should have been processed within 90 days, is now taking 5–7 months.
And it is not just work authorization applications that are in backlog –
all immigration applications are backlogged according to USCIS, which is
leaving millions of immigrants in limbo and threading a thin line between legal
Making the “get in line” statement right wingers love to throw out, nothing but a fallacy, especially since the line is not only lengthy, it’s now stretching on forever for millions of immigrants.
Whether its purposeful or not is left to be decided, especially based
on past processing times and the actions of this administration to date. What
many are feeling is a growing sense of frustration and also fear.
The USCIS’ own timeline shows that processing time for an Application
to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status is taking about a year
while a Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition is taking about 11 months.
A Petition for U Non-immigrant Status, which provides temporary
immigration benefits to an immigrant who is a victim of qualifying criminal
activity and their qualifying family is now up to 43.9 months, up from 40; while
the time for a Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions is up to 31.7
months, from 27.1.
The immigration backlog also extends to U.S. citizenship applicants.
Hundreds of thousands are waiting on applications to become U.S. citizens, a
process that once typically took about six months.
Under the Trump administration, the same processing has stretched to over
a year in some places because of tighter scrutiny of applications and proposals
that are making it more difficult and cumbersome for green-card holders to
qualify and complete the process.
AILA, (The American Lawyers Association), has found that the overall
average case processing time at USCIS surged by 46 percent over the past two
fiscal years and 91 percent since FY 2014.
The Association also found that USCIS processed 94 percent of its form
types – from green cards for family members to visas for human trafficking victims
to petitions for immigrant workers – more slowly in FY 2018 than in FY 2014
while case processing times increased substantially in FY 2018 even as case
receipt volume appeared to markedly decrease.
As AILA accurately summed it up: “Ballooning USCIS processing times
leave families – including families with U.S. citizen spouses and children – in
financial distress, expose vulnerable protection seekers to danger and threaten
the viability of American companies.
“Yet rather than relieving the logjam, USCIS exacerbates it with
policies that inhibit efficiency and prioritize immigration enforcement over
the administration of legal immigration benefits. Such measures act as bricks
in the Trump administration’s ‘invisible wall’ curbing legal immigration in the
This is all a part of the Trump strategy to scapegoat, punish an
demonize immigrants – who don’t fit into their ideal vision of “Make America
The writer is publisher at NewsAmericasNow