One Park Plaza
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1918
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Tel: (213)383-3222
Fax: (213)365-9922
Do You Have an Immigration Problem, A Citizenship Question? Together, We'll Find A Solution
7/6/2021 Issue
              In December 2020, the DACA program was reopened for new applicants (not just “renewals”), and during the next 3 months at least 50,000 new applications were filed with USCIS.
           However, only very few, less than one thousand (1,000) of these applications were actually processed and approved, during the same three months.
           USCIS has all kinds of explanations and excuses why so few applications (about 2%) of the total were processed and approved. For us, who deal with the immigration system on a daily basis, it is only additional proof that the system is still stuck in the “Trump” era, and things are still not moving as they should be.

           The Immigration court system grew tremendously in the past few years. At present, the system already has five hundred (500) Immigration Judges (IJ).
           The function of IJ is highly important, because – on the one hand – only an IJ can issue an Order of Removal (Deportation), and – on the other hand – in some cases only an IJ can grant Adjustment of Status (Green Card) or other legal status in the U.S.
           The backlog of cases in Immigration Court also grew tremendously. It reached 1.3 million (1,300,000) cases. Most cases have to wait years for a Hearing Date in Immigration Court. Sometimes up to four (4) years.
           For some individuals in Removal Proceedings (that is the official name for cases in Immigration Court), the delays in getting a Hearing Date is a blessing: they have no “remedy” and they are in no rush to get a Removal (Deportation) Order. But for others, who must have an IJ’s order to get legal status, the delays are an agony.


           Approved Petitions, whether Family-Based or Employment-Based, go from USCIS (part of the Department of Homeland Security) to the National Visa Center (NVC) (part of the Department of State), and from the NVC to different American Consulates all over the world.
           At present, the NVC and the consulates have a backlog of 500,000 approved petitions, all with completed paperwork – all waiting to be scheduled for personal interviews at American Consulates in different countries.
           For some reason, the Department of State changed the system of scheduling interviews: it used to be that interviews were scheduled in strictly chronological order, by date of filing – or completing – the paperwork. This was a very good system, because there was order, predictability and transparency. Now they schedule interviews by “categories” – and it is a mess. You can never tell when your turn might come and why somebody else got it before you.


           Last week (in June of 2021), our office received a Request for Evidence (RFE) in an application for change of status. Such requests
           (RFE) are normal. Why mention it? Because the application itself, for Change of Status from visitor (B2) to Student (F1) was filed in May of 2019, twenty-five (25) months ago.
An inquiry about the status of a pending Application for Adjustment of Status (Form I-485), the application for a family-based Green Card, the USCIS response is that the waiting time for an interview is from 10 months to 28 months. 
The processing time for a Petition to Remove Condition (Form I-751), which is required from most immigrants who get a Green Card by marriage to U.S. citizen, this waiting time is – officially – from 16.5 months to 24 months.
If you file an application for Naturalization, U. S. citizenship (Form N-400), prepare to wait one year (12 months) or more for your interview.


           Backlogs are an internal administrative problem. President Trump, who was openly against any immigration, including legal immigration, used a number of tactics to create delays and backlogs, such as: imposing additional requirements, instructing officers to ignore prior decisions by other officers and make fresh decisions about everything, imposing all kinds of travel bans, prohibiting IJ to take removal cases off their calendars, ordering a general slow-down which the President called “extreme vetting”, etc. President Trump actually had a special assistant in the White House whose job it was to invent ideas and procedures how to stop immigration by delays without a change in the law.
           Clearing up backlogs does not require an Act of Congress or a new Immigration Law. It requires a decision by top management of the system to pay attention to the problem of backlogs and to order the necessary steps to loosen up, to make things flow, to have the system work like a government should in the 21st century in the top country of the developed world.

3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1918
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 383-3222