Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Biden budget to reduce backlog at USCIS, EOIR

The Biden administration budget reflects an effort to reduce backlogs on both immigration benefits and immigration court proceedings. While the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, the service agency within US Department of Homeland Security, is primarily funded through application fees, President Biden also asked Congress to give USCIS another $765 million to finance the backlog reduction effort. Immigration court funding is appropriated through the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Within the agency, USCIS will set more ambitious backlog reduction goals, expand premium processing to additional form types, and work to improve timely access to employment authorization documents. Said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou in a press release: 

“Every application we adjudicate represents the hopes and dreams of immigrants and their families, as well as their critical immediate needs such as financial stability and humanitarian protection.”

The backlog of applications before USCIS is part of a broader logjam in the immigration system. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resource constraints, and exclusionary policies resulting from the prior administration, USCIS inherited a significant backlog in N-400s and military naturalizations; they were sometimes troubling disparities across regional offices and among applicant types. The Justice Department is currently overseeing 1.7 million unresolved court cases of immigrants facing deportation, while the State Department is handling a backlog of over 400,000 immigrant visa applicants waiting for interviews at U.S. consulates, which limited operations during the pandemic.


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