During the quarantine, USCIS secretly stopped the processing of applications for a green card: internal document

Service citizenship and US immigration services (USCIS) announced to its employees that the Agency “resume processing” all applications for permanent residence in the country, after the informal end, and released guidance for how to work in a new environment. This writes the Rollcall.

Во время карантина USCIS тайно прекратила обработку заявок на грин-карты: данные внутреннего документа

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On a special page for the Department employees where they receive advice and guidance on the work of the offices, it was announced that adopted a “common decision” on the resumption of consideration of applications from immigrants from the United States, hoping to get a green card. Delay in the issuance of a green card, according to instructions, was applied to cases that required personal interviews, and some cases in which these interviews could be canceled.

“The quarantine allowed us to focus on several priority issues, such as the closure of offices, it has supported efforts to mitigate the pandemic COVID-19, and on the proceedings in anticipation of the ceremonies of the oath,” said the employees of the USCIS.

“Now that USCIS expects us to spend almost all pending the naturalization ceremony by the end of July, we resumed the processing of applications for change of status, citizenship and other personal services in offices, where there are protocols on labour protection and safety”, — said in a statement.

In its previous guidance to USCIS employees linked the suspension of processing of applications with the decree of the President of the United States Donald trump, which suspended the entry of most immigrants from abroad. This statement, however, did not affect applicants for a green card who has lived in the United States.

Last week, USCIS acknowledged that the posted material on the “web page used by USCIS employees to obtain guidance,” but said that this statement contained “incorrect information” and has since been removed.

“This post was removed and does not reflect current guidance”, — said the Agency.

USCIS officer, who wished to remain anonymous, said that some offices were ordered to stop processing applications for green card in April. An employee of one of the offices, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was no mention of stop processing applications until may.

Both the employee and the USCIS has expressed concern about how information was published, but was unable to determine exactly whether it happened because of the deliberate decision of the administration to block the issuance of green cards or due to neglect.

“I think the reasons for this decision associated with the pandemic,” said one of the employees.

According to USCIS, in the period from March 30 to June 1 was filed about 45,000 applications for green card, but it is unclear how many of them were outside the categories of exceptions listed in the guidance Department. According to statistics for the period of fiscal 2019, during this period would typically be served about 107 000 applications.

USCIS, which is funded entirely by fees for filing, has asked Congress for emergency funding of $1.2 billion due to the shortfall caused by the reduction in the number of applications in the background of the pandemic.

According to the American Federation of local government employees, the Union representing USCIS employees, it is expected that 70 per cent of the workforce of the Department will be laid off if Congress won’t allocate money to USCIS.



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