Integrity Legal

23rd February 2011

In recent weeks it has come to this blogger’s attention, via organizations such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and through the website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), that the USCIS has made decisions which has lead to a delay in processing a relatively significant number of I-130 petitions for Immediate relative immigration benefits. To quote directly from the official website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS):

In November 2010, USCIS transferred approximately 36,000 Immediate Relative petitions from our California Service Center to our Texas Service Center. We anticipated that this redistribution of work would result in more timely adjudication of these petitions. Due to a number of unforeseen circumstances at our Texas Service Center, many of these cases have not been processed and are beyond our estimated processing times. We sincerely regret any inconvenience this may have caused you and we are making every effort to remedy this situation as soon as possible.

It is easy to lay blame upon people and organizations. Those reading this piece should note that mistakes occur in life. Businesses, individuals, organizations, and governments do make mistakes and playing the “blame game” often yields little in terms of practical solutions. That said, the USCIS is a government entity and should be accountable for their mistakes. Clearly, the USCIS has taken responsibility for this error and has taken measures to rectify the situation. To quote further from the official website of the USCIS:

On Feb. 7, 2011, we implemented a rapid response plan to expedite the adjudication of these petitions. We have transferred a large number of these Immediate Relative petitions back to our California Service Center to take advantage of resources currently available to immediately process these cases. Petitioners will see an action such as an approval, denial or a Request for Evidence (RFE) on their case from our California or Texas Service Centers by the end of February. Additionally, we have briefed the Department of State’s National Visa Center about these cases.

USCIS’s efforts to solve this problem should not be overlooked. For those seeking an Immigrant visa for a foreign spouse, the K-3 visa has been used in the past to obtain an expedited travel document when the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service has a backlog of cases. In recent months, the United States National Visa Centerpiece  has had an “administrative closure” policy regarding those K-3 visa applications that arrive at the NVC with, or after, their I-130 counterparts. There are some who speculate that there might be more K-3 visas issued as a result of the backlog created from the situation note above. At the time of this writing, it remains unclear as to exactly how American Immigration officials will opt to deal with this matter.

For related information please see: USCIS processing time.


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