Tuesday, March 10, 2020
On February 26, 2020, Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) introduced H.R. 5971, the Case Backlog Transparency and Accountability Act of 2020. The bill establishes new USCIS and GAO reporting requirements concerning the status and contributors to USCIS’s case backlog for naturalizations and other immigration benefits.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the National Partnership for New Americans have engaged in sustained advocacy on the issue of USCIS backlogs and worked with bill co-sponsors on the legislation. Reports issued from the Colorado State Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights and hearings were held in the U.S. House Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee led by Rep. Zoe Lofgren as well.
AILA President Marketa Lindt stated, “This vital, bipartisan legislation is a necessary step in the pursuit of greater transparency and accountability within USCIS. For months, AILA and its members have shared clients’ mounting frustration with the ever-increasing case processing delays at USCIS and the detrimental impact of those delays on families, vulnerable individuals and U.S. businesses. Far too many have been in limbo for months, if not years, while they wait to be reunited with family members or renew their work authorization, simply because USCIS has failed to act on their applications in a timely and efficient manner. Last year, USCIS’s own data, analyzed by AILA, revealed a massive and still growing backlog of cases pending outside of target processing times, showing that there was over a 90 percent increase in processing times from FY 2014 through FY 2018. Upon review of that analysis, and following my testimony before the House Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, Congress demanded an explanation from USCIS, demands that have thus far not been met in a satisfactory way.”