Saturday, September 18, 2021
Official White House Photo
Is anyone surprised? Newsweek ("Immigration Processing Now Takes 6 Times Longer Following Trump Policies") reports that, despite the fact that numbers of applications remained constant for the past five years, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services processing times jumped six-fold between 2015 and 2020. The agency now faces a backlog of millions of petitions from people looking to temporarily stay or live in the country, receive humanitarian relief, obtain work authorization or become U.S. citizens.
According to the report,
"The Trump administration made a number of changes that complicated the immigration process. These findings were gathered by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) . . . as the number of pending applications grew by an estimated 85 percent during the five years in which the GAO conducted its study. . . . The GAO attributed the longer processing times to policy changes that resulted in longer forms, expanded interview requirements, insufficient staffing levels and a suspension of in-person services due to the pandemic in 2020.
Under the Trump administration's 2017 to 2021 rule, hundreds of small changes were made to USCIS forms. Examples include a 2019 rule that forced applicants to refile forms if they left a space blank, even if the item did not apply to them. A 2017 rule required people over the age of 75 to provide finger printing documents, despite not having had to do so since 1998. Along with these technical moves, the administration forced USCIS to raise fees for naturalization applications from $620 to $1,160 in 2020.
The effects of these changes and others were felt over the years. . . ."