The immigration system is broken in many ways. One of the most dysfunctional aspects of our immigration system is that the government takes far too long to decide cases. I have had applications for lawful permanent residence (or “green card”) take TEN YEARS to be decided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). I have had asylum applications take SIX YEARS to be decided by USCIS. USCIS publishes normal processing times on their website, and some of the numbers are difficult to believe. The normal processing time at a USCIS field office for an I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence is 20 MONTHS to 49.5 MONTHS. That means it is normal for USCIS to take FOUR YEARS to process those applications.
America deserves better. American businesses should not be kept waiting so long to learn if they will be able to keep their valued employees. American citizens should not have to wait years to learn if they will be able to build a secure life with their spouses. And future Americans should not be kept waiting so long to learn their fates. Congress believes that immigration benefits applications should take six months to be decided. Congress has even expressed this policy in law, “It is the sense of Congress that the processing of an immigration benefit application should be completed not later than 180 days after the initial filing of the application….” 8 U.S.C. § 1571(b). USCIS has strayed far from Congress’s intent, as have other agencies in the immigration system.
The reason for this is chronic mismanagement. USCIS pays for its own services through user fees. For example, someone applying for a green card pays a fee that covers the costs of deciding the application. USCIS has the authority to change its fees so that it can hire enough officers to do the work. USCIS has control over what resources it has, so if the agency is managed properly, it should not take years to decide cases.
Many people come to our office frustrated that their cases are taking so long. What do we do? SUE THEM. Our office regularly sues USCIS and other immigration agencies. We ask federal judges to make the government do their jobs. Usually, when we challenge a government agency in federal court, they make a quick decision on the benefit application. We have gotten powerful results for our clients by relying on federal courts to make the immigration agencies do their jobs. Suing the government is the best and sometimes only way to get the government to make a decision on a case that is long-delayed.
If you are frustrated that your case is taking too long, contact Murray Osorio for a consultation and let’s find out if we can help you.