To reduce the pending Green Card backlog, the advisory committee recommended the US Citizenship and Immigration Services review their processes, systems, and policies and establish new internal cycle time goals by streamlining processes.
FREMONT, CA: A presidential advisory council unanimously recommended that US President Joe Biden complete all green card and permanent residency applications within six months. If adopted, this idea is likely to bring joy to hundreds of thousands of Indian-Americans, including many who have been waiting for a Green Card for decades. The President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (PACAANHPI) is currently submitting its recommendations to the White House for approval. The subject was initiated during a meeting of the PACAANHPI by Ajay Jain Bhutoria, an Indian-American community leader. All 25 commissioners at the meeting supported the proposal. The proceedings of the summit in the nation’s capital were webcast live the previous week.
The existing immigration system, which imposes a seven percent per country quota on allotment of the coveted Green Card or permanent legal residency, is wreaking havoc on Indian IT workers, the majority of whom are highly talented and come to the US primarily on H-1B work visas. The advisory committee recommended that US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) review their processes, systems, and policies and set new internal cycle time goals by streamlining processes, removing redundant steps, automating any manual approvals, improving their internal dashboards, and enhancing policies that will be reduce the pending Green Card backlog. The recommendations wanted to eliminate the processing time for all forms relating to family-based Green Card applications, DACA renewals, and all other Green Card applications to six months, and to issue final decisions within six months of receiving the applications. The panel proposed that the National Visa Center (NVC), a State Department facility, hire additional officers to increase their capacity to process Green Card application interviews by 100 percent in three months beginning August 2022 and to increase Green Card application visa interviews and adjudicate decisions by 150 percent by April 2023, up from a capacity of 32,439 in April 2022.
The commission recommended that the USCIS examine and adjudicate petitions for work permits, travel papers, and temporary status extensions or adjustments within three months to make it easier for immigrants to stay and work in the nation. Bhutoria pointed out that, even though the US population has expanded significantly in recent decades, the immigration system has remained the same. Annual immigration levels were set in the early 1990s and have stayed unaltered since then. In the fiscal year 2021, only 65,452 family preference green cards were handed out of a total of 226,000 eligible, leaving hundreds of thousands of green cards unused and separating several families. According to Bhutoria’s policy paper, there were 421,358 pending interviews in April, compared to 436,700 in March. Even if such individuals are already qualified to immigrate, the unusual wait period for a Green Card causes enormous hardship for American families who are forced to wait decades to reunite with their loved ones. The commission also recommended that the USCIS expand premium processing to more employment-based Green Card applications, all work permit petitions, and temporary immigration status extension requests, allowing applicants to pay USD 2,500 and have their cases adjudicated in a phased approach within 45 days.