AILA Welcomes USCIS Action to Address Effect of Processing Delays on Families and the U.S. Economy

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomed the advance copy of a temporary final rule in which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced automatic extensions of work permits would be granted for up to 540 days, rather than the existing 180-day extension.

AILA President Allen Orr stated, “Through no fault of their own, crushing processing backlogs have caused work-authorized foreign nationals to lose jobs and employers to lose valuable talent at a time when there is a labor market shortage. This announcement will lessen the stress and anxiety affecting thousands stuck in limbo as Congress provides USCIS much needed resources to ramp up staffing and bring processing times down to rational levels. This sort of easy ‘plug-and-play' change will immediately allow families and employers to breathe a sigh of relief and ensure our nation’s shared prosperity continues to grow. It is a great step forward, but there remain many more simple changes the Biden Administration can and should make to right the ship at USCIS.”

Benjamin Johnson, AILA Executive Director added, “We all understand that the pandemic has only added to the USCIS’ growing backlogs, but the agency’s processing troubles began long before COVID. There are many easy changes that AILA has recommended to USCIS that would make a real difference in reducing crisis level backlogs, including the one announced today. Among the other recommended changes is making electronic filing more accessible to attorneys and adjudicating related cases together. We also encourage the agency to be more transparent about processing goals and processing times for different form types, and to conduct an agency review of form length. Combined with the lengthened work permit extensions, these changes could make a significant difference across the board.”

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 22050302.