USCIS Processing Delays Remain So High; U Visa Applicants Can Now Sue Over Delays

USCIS Processing Delays Remain So High; U Visa Applicants Can Now Sue Over Delays

USCIS Processing Delays

It is said that patience is a virtue. Yet, that temperament continues to be pushed to its limit by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

USCIS processing delays remain at crisis levels according to the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Rivas & Associates team of skilled attorneys empathizes with those being affected by the USCIS processing delays.

“It’s frustrating for our clients, their families, employers and us,” leading Tulsa immigration attorney Lorena Rivas said. “Believe me, we want nothing more than our clients to have their applications and petitions expedited in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, that is not where we are at right now. I don’t think the USCIS is entirely to blame for the backlog and processing delays, but I do think they could operate more efficiently.”

That those affected by the USCIS processing delays are frustrated would be an understatement. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that a 3-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court unanimously ruled that U-visa applicants can sue over processing delays.

The basis for the ruling comes after the court deemed that the USCIS had “unreasonably delayed in placing four applicants for U visas on a waiting list and attaining deferred-action status that would protect them from deportation.” 

The Circuit Court of Appeals rejected USCIS’ argument that its delays in the four consolidated cases were due to a backlog of roughly 160,000 applications for U visas, which are granted to victims of serious crimes, and were in line with the current five-year average waiting period.

Circuit Court Judge Karen Nelson Moore stated: “We find it unhelpful to fixate on the average snail’s pace when comparing snails against snails in a snail’s race.”

Moore’s statement further reinforces the processing pace, or lack thereof, at which the USCIS is presently operating at during this time.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association compared processing times between 2017 and 2021 in a recent report. The AILA article identified the following:

  • Processing times for all I-539 applications to change of extend status rose from about 2.8 months to 9.8 months – an increase of 250 percent
  • Processing times for family-based adjustment of status I-485 applications increased from 7.9 months to 13.2 months – an increase of 67 percent
  • Processing times for naturalization (N-400) applications jumped from 7.9 months to 11.6 months – an increase of 47 percent

What Can You Do to Assist and Speed Things Up?

The Coronavirus Pandemic, understaffing and new enacted policies are all contributing factors in the USCIS processing delays which unfortunately are out of your and an attorney’s control.

That said, there are some things you can do to help facilitate the application process. These include but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring that your attorney has your correct and current contact information
  • Working with your attorney to quickly file application and petitions as early as possible
  • When possible, ask the USCIS to expedite your case as quickly as possible if you qualify
  • Ask your attorney to file a lawsuit against the USCIS to act on your case

As a full-service immigration law firm, Rivas & Associates understands the importance of your case. Our firm is committed to advocating and supporting its esteemed clientele throughout their legal journey.

Contact Rivas & Associates today to set up a personal consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced immigration law attorney. 

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