Bill introduced in US House to tackle growing processing delays

MUMBAI: US Congressman, Tony Cárdenas, on October 25, introduced a bill – the Record Backlog Transparency and Accountability Act to address significant immigration-related processing backlogs. It seeks to set new reporting requirements for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).USCIS), to identify the reason for the processing delay and facilitate the search for potential solutions.
USCIS will periodically notify the United States Congress of the number of pending cases and the average processing time for each type of immigration benefit adjudicated by immigration authorities. It also requires USCIS and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to analyze the cause of the backlog and suggest ideas for reducing delays.
TOI has regularly reported on processing delays and the hardship it causes for the Indian community in the United States. For example, failure to get timely adjudication to renew work permit applications (EADs) has resulted in many spouses of H-1B workers losing their jobs or employment opportunities.
“The overwhelming immigration backlog at USCIS is leaving countless individuals in limbo,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “A reporting system would improve transparency and help USCIS find the root cause of these processing delays. I hope that greater accountability and awareness of what is not working at USCIS will lead to solutions in the future.”
Between 2015 and 2020, the number of pending cases at USCIS increased from 3.2 to 5.8 million. According to USCIS own data, processing times are increasing, leaving applicants waiting for a decision for more than seven months on most types of immigrant aid applications.
The act was endorsed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Humane Immigration Rights Alliance of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), and the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA).
“For years, the U.S. families, vulnerable individuals, and businesses that our more than 16,000 members regularly represent have suffered severely as a result of USCIS processing delays.” American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) executive director Benjamin Johnson said. “Families torn apart, businesses losing key employees and vulnerable individuals remain at risk. We commend Representative Cardenas for being consistent in holding USCIS accountable. This measure would require USCIS to review and analyze the causes of the growing immigration backlog and ensure effective and efficient solutions for its clients.”
“USCIS has taken important steps to increase efficiency and reduce the burden on our immigration system, but much remains to be done to fully address the growing needs, especially addressing backlogs,” said Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Alliance for Humanitarian Immigrants. Rights (CHIRLA).”The Transparency and Backlog Act of 2022, will give USCIS additional tools to reduce the current backlog and prevent future backlogs. This legislation will also increase transparency and predictability to ensure that everyone has timely access to a fair immigration process and quality service.”
“The Backlog Transparency and Accountability Act of 2022 represents a positive step in understanding the causes of USCIS’s backlogs and providing the necessary public reporting to increase accountability. accountability and transparency,” said Nicole Melaku, executive director of the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA). “For years, the NPNA has been calling on USCIS to reduce backlogs and processing delays so that families and individuals don’t have to wait unnecessarily for their applications to be processed. We commend them. Praise this Act for proposing sensible solutions in which Congress and USCIS can work together to address this issue and promote efficiency and equity.”
Raul PintoThe Senior Staff Counsel at the American Council on Immigration, a Washington-based think tank, points out that while trial delays have plagued USCIS for years, the problem is growing. increased as the agency shifted focus in the adjudication process. trumpet management from granting benefits to enforcement, weaponizing these delays to limit immigration wherever possible. USCIS has also been hit hard by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has restricted its workforce and access to files under certain circumstances.
“The bill would bring much-needed accountability to USCIS through the enactment of transparency measures. For example, Cardenas’ proposal would require the agency to issue annual reports not only on the data backlog but also on the agency’s current efforts to improve the backlog, a blueprint to eliminate backlogs and measures to prevent future backlogs. The bill would also require USCIS to publish the reports on the agency’s website,” Pinto added.


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