Immigration lawyers blast delays in citizenship, green cards


WASHINGTON (AP) — Immigration lawyers on Wednesday blasted delays in the U.S. government’s handling of applications for citizenship, green cards and other immigration benefits.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association said the wait times nearly doubled over a four-year period while the number of immigration applications rose only slightly.

“Throughout the nation, these delays are harming families, vulnerable populations, and U.S. businesses that depend on timely adjudications,” the group, which includes more than 15,000 immigration attorneys and law professors, said in a report.

The lawyers said U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — which is funded by application filing fees — is shifting its focus away from serving immigrant applicants and becoming “a third immigration enforcement component of DHS.”

The association asked for more congressional oversight and greater transparency.

Lindsey Graham Ties Border Funding to Ukraine Aid, Has Tough Message for Anyone Who Doesn't Like It

A spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said the agency has opened three new field offices and expanded 10 others in an effort to speed up the processing of naturalization applications and other benefits. The workforce grew by 38 percent over the past five years.

“The truth is that while many factors relating to an individual’s case can affect processing times, waits are often due to higher application rates rather than slow processing,” said spokesman Michael Bars.

But the lawyers association, which looked at data from 2014-2018, pointed to a 2018 report by the Department of Homeland Security showing the net backlog of cases at USCIS doubled during the 2017 fiscal year while the agency saw a 4 percent increase in applications.

AILA officials say the average nationwide wait time for naturalization was 5.6 months in budget year 2016. And in fiscal year 2018, it was 10.2 months.

Jason Boyd, one of the immigration lawyer analysts, said the need for reforms is urgent.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City