This Bill Is To Address All The Case Backlogs Of US Visa Applicants
In today’s blog, we are discussing in detail the Case Backlog and Transparency Act that is expected to reduce the backlogs plaguing visa processing at USCIS.
The long delays faced by millions of immigrants in receiving their immigration benefits are likely to be cleared sooner with The Case Backlog and Transparency Act released on October 25.
Congressman Tony Cárdenas, while reintroducing the bill stated that the extreme immigration backlog at USCIS is leaving countless individuals in limbo, with families in many districts across the country being kept waiting for weeks, months, and even years, without any update on their cases, let alone a resolution.
The Case Backlog and Transparency Act establishes a new reporting system for USCIS and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to find out the causes behind delays in case processing. The purpose of this system is to find solutions to reduce the immigration case backlog.
The Congressman also explained that a reporting system will improve transparency and help USCIS find the root cause of the processing delays so the applicants can have the peace of mind that their cases are handled fairly and timely. He hoped that accountability and awareness of what isn’t working at USCIS will lead to solutions in the future.
According to the USCIS data, processing times have increased to a decision being given well over seven months for most types of immigration benefit applications. The number of cases awaiting a decision grew from 3.2 to 5.8 million at the USCIS between 2015 and 2020.
The Case Backlog Transparency and Accountability Act will establish backlog reporting requirements each quarter. The DHS will be required to publish, on its website at the end of the first three quarters of each fiscal year, a report on the case backlog. This report will also be submitted to the designated Congressional committees.
The Bill is expected to improve the reporting system by implementing the following steps:
- Prepare reports that will identify the number of pending immigration benefit applications, and the net, and gross backlog.
- Provide information in the report to showcase the average processing time for all types of immigration benefit applications, along with any change in the processing times relative to the prior quarter.
- Prepare quarterly reports that describe the active suspense categories and the number of cases pending in each category.
- Prepare a biyearly GAO report highlighting the factors contributing to case backlog, including an assessment of the agency’s policies on processing times.
- Evaluate the USCIS’s efforts to eliminate the backlog by ensuring accurate and consistent appraisals.
- Ensuring that USCIS and GAO publish these reports on their websites.
This legislation was endorsed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), and the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA).
Further expressing the demands of the affectees, the AILA director claimed that more than 16,000 members suffered devastating consequences from USCIS’s processing delays. He also exclaimed that these delays have caused families to be separated, businesses losing their employees, and vulnerable individuals to remain in jeopardy.
The Bill is only the first step in solving the major issues affecting the backlogs. As per experts, Congress must also strengthen the USCIS by providing more direct funding for backlog reduction.
The authorities must also look into expanding the current legal immigration routes, as the current immigration laws do not meet the nation’s labor needs or humanitarian aspirations.
Immigrations experts consider the bill to be a temporary stopgap on broader problems faced by a legal immigration system that has not been updated since 1990.
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