During the last two years, wait times for processing applications with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have skyrocketed. Staff shortages, limited appointment times (for COVID-19 safety), and complications introduced by the Trump administration have meant that immigrants who desperately need visas, work permits, or green cards, are waiting longer than ever. MIRA’s Legal Project Director, Attorney Patricia Ice, notes that prior to the pandemic, the USCIS had a goal of a 90-day turnaround time for processing work permits; but now, applicants are waiting for up to a year or even longer. These astronomical wait times have caused some MIRA clients to lose their jobs while they wait for work permits; another client died while waiting to bring a loved one to the country.
According to this in-depth article in the L.A. Times, these delays are wreaking similar havoc on immigrants around the country. “Unprecedented delays processing millions of visas, work permits, green cards, and naturalization petitions, as well as cases languishing in immigration courts, are so severe that experts say they can’t be resolved without significant reforms,” the author writes.
MIRA staff have been inundated with an overwhelming amount of calls as immigrants seek updates on their applications. MIRA Paralegal Willy Huff works alongside Patricia, speaking with clients over the phone, documenting their cases, and helping prepare all documents needed for their filings.