Decreased Communication and Negotiation with the Government Under the Trump Administration
To those paying attention, it is clear that the Trump administration is working hard to decrease legal immigration to the United States. The applicant backlog at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) currently stands at around 2.4 million–a figure higher than it has been since 2013.
While an increase in applications has contributed to this bottleneck, immigration experts note that the Trump administration’s new policies have greatly exacerbated the problem. For example, thanks to a 2017 policy change, every applicant for a green card through an employer must now submit to an in-person interview. Another policy change now requires USCIS to re-adjudicate every application for an extension of status. Analysts also note that Requests for Evidence have also substantially increased.
The delays are further hampered by the government’s new policies that shuttered lines of communication between the applicant’s attorney and USCIS. Previously, USCIS offices were willing to communicate quickly and efficiently with immigration attorneys through walk-in Infopass appointments and even through phone, email and fax to supervisors. Through emergency or informal lines of communication, the attorney helped facilitate faster decisions or learn about issues in a case that needed to be addressed before a decision could be made.
Earlier this year, USCIS greatly reduced the number of Infopass appointments available to applicants and their attorneys. Also, USCIS increased the times that an applicant must wait before contacting USCIS to check on a case. The USCIS hotline number regularly has long wait times–even hours–to speak with hotline attendants and often requires the applicant to wait 72-hours for a call-back for answers to the questions. USCIS has called my office at 8pm–luckily I was able to take the call. If the applicant or attorney misses a USCIS call-back, the process–and waits–start again.
If you or a loved one has filed an immigration-related petition or application with the USCIS, and if you believe you have waited an unreasonable amount of time for a response, I recommend contacting me or another experienced immigration lawyer. I can help you through this process as quickly and efficiently as possible, or determine another course of action for getting the answer you need and deserve. I’ve worked with clients around the world to help make the immigration process smoother and less confusing, and I’d like to help you, too.