Matthew D. Bourke, a spokesperson for USCIS, pointed to a number of efforts the agency has made in the past few months to shorten processing times, including by establishing internal goals and expanding fast-tracked processing services.
In May, USCIS released a rule to automatically extend some people’s work permits to up to 540 days, up from the previously 180 days, to give the agency more time to work through cases without forcing existing workers out of their jobs.
The agency is also working to fill 95 percent of current vacancies by the end of this year, Bourke said.
“USCIS remains committed to increasing access to eligible immigration benefits, breaking down barriers in the immigration system, and upholding America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility with fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve,” Bourke said.
Some congressional staffers say they’ve seen an improvement in recent months. The House Democratic aide whose immigration casework tripled last year said USCIS’ recent policy allowing automatic extensions has reduced the amount of work permit-related requests the office is receiving.