As a business immigration attorney, I work on a daily basis with U.S companies and employees who share with me the immigration and business challenges they face. Such as, development organizations in Silicon Valley on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence; manufacturing companies in the heartland that are the economic backbone in their towns; entrepreneurs and innovators who have a vision and drive for the “next big thing;” and hospitals in urban and rural areas that supply health care in underserved communities.
I work with these employers in order to facilitate access to talent in a very tight job market. I constantly hear how challenging it is for them to use the legal immigration system to meet their staffing needs due to the increasing unpredictability and extreme processing delays of the legal immigration system.
Day-after-day, companies and their employees face lengthy processing times for their immigration filings. This isn’t because they made errors or are ineligible for the immigration category, but because a government agency is not meeting deadlines and is putting their businesses and livelihoods at risk.
These delays do not just affect businesses — families and applicants for humanitarian relief are also seeing unprecedented delays in the processing of the immigration applications that they have filed with the government, leading to wage loss and the trauma of lengthy family separations.
The severe impact that these delays have on many companies and individuals is the reason that today I am on Capitol Hill, testifying before the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, as it calls administration officials to account for the crisis-level delays at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
I am here today on behalf of the more than 15,000 immigration lawyers who represent millions of individuals, families and businesses that are experiencing the same delays caused by government inefficiency.
We know this issue is unprecedented and systemic because AILA has analyzed USCIS’s own data and the numbers show that nearly every immigration category is delayed. USCIS’s overall average case processing time surged by 46 percent from fiscal 2016 to 2018 and by 91 percent from fiscal 2014 to 2018.
By Martketa Lindt for THE HILL
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