A presidential advisory commission has unanimously voted to recommend President Joe Biden process all applications for green cards, or Permanent Resident cards within six months. Green Card holders are allowed to live and work permanently in the United States. The recommendations of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders( PACAANHPI) will be sent to Joe Biden for his approval. Once cleared, it could bring cheers to hundreds of thousands of Indian Americans waiting for years, some even decades, to get permanent residency in the US.
The proposal was put forward by eminent Indian American community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria during the meeting of the PACAANHPI in Washington DC. All its 25 commissioners unanimously approved the proposal.
The commission recommended US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) review their processes and establish new internal cycle time goals by removing redundant steps if any, automating any manual approvals, improving their internal dashboards and reporting system and enhancing policies. The recommendations include reducing the cycle time for processing all forms related to family-based green card application, DACA renewals, all other green card applications within six months and issue adjudicate decisions within six months of application received by it.
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It also recommended National Visa Center (NVC) State Department facility hire additional officers to increase their capacity to process green card application interviews by 100 per cent in three months from August 2022, and to increase Green card application visa interviews and adjudicate decisions by 150 per cent by April 2023.
“Thereafter Green Card visa interviews and visa processing timeline should be a maximum of six months,” it said.
Bhutoria noted that the immigration system has not changed to keep up the pace with the substantial rise in the US population in recent decades. In the policy paper tabled by Bhutoria, the disproportionate figures of the family preference green cards issued against the available green cards were highlighted. Only 65,452 family preference green cards were issued in FY 2021 out of the annual 226,000 green cards available. This left hundreds of thousands of green cards unused, keeping many more families needlessly separated.
“The extraordinary wait time for a green card to be available causes significant hardship for American families forced to wait decades to reunite with their loved ones, even though those individuals are already qualified to immigrate right now,” Bhutoria said.
“Family separation takes a terrible emotional toll on families, and it imposes clear logistical, economic, and emotional hardships on families, and the growing nature of the backlogs makes the process uncertain and future planning impossible,” he added.
(With PTI inputs)