BACKLOG: IMMIGRATION COURT
The Immigration court system grew tremendously in the past few years. At present, the system already has five hundred (500) Immigration Judges (IJ).
The function of IJ is highly important, because – on the one hand – only an IJ can issue an Order of Removal (Deportation), and – on the other hand – in some cases only an IJ can grant Adjustment of Status (Green Card) or other legal status in the U.S.
The backlog of cases in Immigration Court also grew tremendously. It reached 1.3 million (1,300,000) cases. Most cases have to wait years for a Hearing Date in Immigration Court. Sometimes up to four (4) years.
For some individuals in Removal Proceedings (that is the official name for cases in Immigration Court), the delays in getting a Hearing Date is a blessing: they have no “remedy” and they are in no rush to get a Removal (Deportation) Order. But for others, who must have an IJ’s order to get legal status, the delays are an agony.
BACKLOG: CONSULAR CASES
Approved Petitions, whether Family-Based or Employment-Based, go from USCIS (part of the Department of Homeland Security) to the National Visa Center (NVC) (part of the Department of State), and from the NVC to different American Consulates all over the world.
At present, the NVC and the consulates have a backlog of 500,000 approved petitions, all with completed paperwork – all waiting to be scheduled for personal interviews at American Consulates in different countries.
For some reason, the Department of State changed the system of scheduling interviews: it used to be that interviews were scheduled in strictly chronological order, by date of filing – or completing – the paperwork. This was a very good system, because there was order, predictability and transparency. Now they schedule interviews by “categories” – and it is a mess. You can never tell when your turn might come and why somebody else got it before you.
Last week (in June of 2021), our office received a Request for Evidence (RFE) in an application for change of status. Such requests