While codified immigration law remains unchanged from when he entered office, President Trump’s policies likely mean more paperwork and longer wait times for those seeking approval to reside in the United States. Though the process is more exhaustive and the wait time is more extensive now than in previous years, one immigration attorney says immigrant approvals continue.
Under President Trump, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) elevated the paperwork bar for foreign nationals. Under current policy, the agency now requests specific notary stamps or other certifications within paperwork requirements. The requirement to obtain the officials seals tens to slow the process overall, according to an Arizona Daily Sun article.
“Even immigrants who are here legally and want to renew or want relatives to come to the U.S. legally are finding the approval process has become incredibly slow,” says immigration attorney Kathryn Mahady. The bulk of Mahady’s client work centers on assisting those who seek to come to the United State or who are looking to renew their work permit or extend their permissions to stay in the country.
Mahady notes an observable slow down in the speed with which applications receive USCIS approval. “It used to take between eight months to a year. Now, it takes much, much longer. One current client, a U.S. citizen, waited 2 years before his wife’s immigration paperwork was approved last week.”
Besides efforts to help ensure against fraud and counterfeit from applicants, Mahady speculates an overall reduction in staff levels at the agency. With fewer officials available to process files and applications, the backlog builds more quickly than it does with more manpower.
While USCIS by in large operates with the highest professional standards, the agency isn’t without its problems, says Mahady. Following up with the agency for clients dealing with multiple jurisdictions within the agency. For instance, paperwork that’s submitted correctly goes missing once its inside USCIS walls.
“The loss of paperwork seems to happen more frequently when a client has to deal with multiple jurisdictions in the USCIS department — for example if someone moved from Florida to Arizona and needed to update or renew their paperwork.”
Mahady emphasizes all clients for whom she expected USCIS to approve have received approval.
“It’s a huge relief for people when they get approved,” she said. “It can be a long and very frustrating process.”