AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

House Committee Ramps Up Bipartisan Concern Over Crisis Delays at USCIS

7/16/19 AILA Doc. No. 19071605.
George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship held a hearing entitled “Policy Changes and Processing Delays at USCIS” calling administration officials to account for the crisis-level case processing delays at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Following the administration’s testimony, a panel of stakeholders addressed the nationwide impact of these delays and analyzed how USCIS’s own policies have contributed to the processing slowdown. American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) President Marketa Lindt testified along with officials from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

Drawing upon AILA’s quantitative analysis of USCIS’s own data, Marketa Lindt illustrated how the dramatic growth of processing delays in nearly every immigration petition or application is having severe repercussions for millions of individuals, families, and U.S. businesses. She noted, “Nationwide our lawyer members are hearing from small and large companies whose operations are jeopardized by the delays and families who have to wait months longer to be reunited with loved ones. Even though they have filed the necessary paperwork and paid the government fees, companies are unable to meet business needs, workers are losing income, and families are suffering from extended separation due to unprecedented delays. Many of these delays are caused by new, unnecessary USCIS policies that waste time and government resources, such as duplicative requirements for officers to re-examine cases or to conduct unnecessary additional interviews of applicants. AILA joins the many members of Congress from both parties that are now urging USCIS to change course and get the job done right.”

Sharvari Dalal-Dheini, AILA Director of Government Relations, noted, “It is not hyperbole to say that the consequences of these delays are dire. In recent months, dozens of Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have demanded that USCIS address what are unacceptable low performance measures. We greatly appreciate the work the Committee is now doing to hold the agency accountable for its failure to administer immigration benefits as Congress mandated. AILA’s more than 15,000 members have been urging USCIS to address these delays for years, only to see them worsen. Today’s hearing is vitally important, but Congress should also pass legislation to ensure greater transparency and accountability within USCIS going forward. These failures harm our economy, American businesses, families and communities. America deserves a strong, effective legal immigration system to keep businesses competitive and our families and communities prospering.”