Relief may be coming, but changes have yet to be felt on the ground. And now, immigrants applying to become permanent residents after being granted asylum face “some of the longest delays among the broader immigrant population that is trying to adjust their status,” said Conchita Cruz, co-executive director of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project.
“The problem for them, I think, is worse than it is for other groups,” Cruz said. “In terms of what the stats are, it’s worse. The delay is longer.”
A persistent backlog
USCIS processed more than 570,000 applications for permanent residency in fiscal 2021, which ended Sept. 30. The majority of those were for foreign citizens applying to adjust their statuses through a family member or their employer.
While USCIS receives far fewer green card requests from people with asylum, a smaller population, the data shows that the agency processes those requests at lower rates relative to the number of incoming applications.
USCIS processed just 22,000 asylum-based green card applications last fiscal year and received nearly 45,000 new ones. That means USCIS received more than twice the number of those applications than it adjudicated last year, making it the green card category with the lowest processing rate.