AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

AILA: Massive Effort by USCIS to Issue Visas Shows Need for Congressional Investment to Catch Up Fully with Backlogs

9/8/22 AILA Doc. No. 22090806. Adjustment of Status, Consular Processing

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) commends the massive effort to process employment-based visas by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State (DOS) reflected in the October Visa Bulletin released by the agency.

AILA President Jeremy McKinney stated, “Issuing 280,000+ employment-based immigrant visas is quite a feat, something that was only possible because of staff and leadership working overtime to process applications efficiently. This is double the number of visas normally issued in a year and truly a remarkable effort by agencies that have faced many hurdles in years past. I am also grateful for the partnership between AILA and the USCIS and DOS officials working on this effort to acknowledge and address the issues identified by our 16,000+ members which resulted in updated FAQs and other outreach to the public. These rapid updates strengthened a sense of certainty for many employment-based immigrants, their families, and counsel across the country during a very tumultuous time.”

AILA Director of Government Relations Sharvari Dalal-Dheini added, “What this tremendous effort has also shown is that Congress needs to support the important work of both agencies through appropriations. Usually, USCIS and DOS work is fee-based, but given the huge backlog engendered during the previous administration, and by the impact of pandemic restrictions, Congress needs to keep the purse strings open to ensure that the agencies are equipped to quickly and efficiently process all those individuals who remain in the employment, family, and diversity immigrant visa backlogs. Doing so will only better our country’s recovery from the pandemic. Despite the herculean effort, we must recognize that many individuals who had hoped to get their immigrant visas this year are now faced with visa retrogression and others, particularly those in the family backlog, have seen delays get even worse. As such, we must continue to push Congress to reform the immigrant visa system to ensure visas are not lost, children do not age out, our country’s employment needs are met, and we can keep families together.”