July 14, 2020

In recent weeks, AILA has received reports from members of delays in the issuance of EAD’s and green cards for some employment-based, family-based, and asylum-based immigration applications.

After suspending approval of green card requests to immigrants abroad seeking U.S. residency, the Trump administration has also halted processing requests from green card applicants already living in the country.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) advised its employees last week that there will be a “general hold” on permanent residency applications filed from immigrants within the United States. While the news has reported the shut-down of immigrant and non-immigrant processing of applications outside the U.S., this news comes at a bit of a shock. Especially since USCIS offices have started to re-open and process interviews. It was not clear when the hold was originally implemented.

On July 9, the Washington Post reported that USCIS has shut down printing of documents evidencing legal status and work authorization for immigrants and nonimmigrants, including green cards and employment authorization documents (EAD), in Corbin, KY, weeks ago, and USCIS has scaled back printing at the second facility in Lee’s Summit, MO, resulting in massive delays. USCIS blames “financial concerns,” for their failure to renew the contract with the printing company despite never alerting Congress. According to a USCIS, approximately 50,000 green cards and 75,000 other employment authorization documents promised to immigrants and nonimmigrants haven’t been printed.

In light of USCIS’s $1.2 billion funding crisis, this is expected with a lack of workers to handle and process cases, which is causing crisis-level delays that are crippling the agency’s case processing.