Relatives of U.S. citizens applying to immigrate to the United States legally are suffering unprecedented, year-long delays in waiting for their applications to be processed, as President Barack Obama smooths the path for illegal immigrants.
In a response to complaints, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said last week that it has improved wait times from 13 months, now processing applications filed in February.
Immigration attorney Gary Chodorow said in an online posting:
It’s unlikely that the USCIS Nov. 20 email will mollify stakeholders. The email seems to indicate that processing times may already have been reduced to 9 months. But spouses and other immediate relatives separated or stuck abroad due to processing delays are unlikely to be satisfied until USCIS reaches its five-month processing goal. Also, stakeholders may feel they deserve an explanation as to why the delays have spiraled and what USCIS is doing to resolve the problem.
President Barack Obama has promised to streamline legal immigration as part of comprehensive immigration reform.
However, his 2012 decision to defer deportation for illegal aliens brought into the country as children–the so-called “Dream Act by fiat”–has flooded the federal immigration bureaucracy with new requests by those eligible to register for formal status.
In addition, most public attention–and the effort of the administration–has focused on illegal immigration. As he addressed an immigration reform rally in San Francisco Monday, the president was heckled by a protestor demanding a halt to deportations. Few activists have taken an interest in the cause of legal immigrants.
USCIS promises to reduce the backlog to 5 months by May.