Immigration visas going unused while backlogs grows

The Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugee, Border Security, and International Law held a hearing today on “ Wasted Visas, Growing Backlogs.” Chair Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Ca.) said the goal of the hearing was to “examine the consistent failure by our immigration agencies to issue all the family- and employment-based immigrant visas authorized by law each year, despite the ongoing demand for such visas.” With Rep. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.), former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, she has developed legislation to recapture unused visas and to allow the visas to be used in the future. Michael Aytes, acting deputy director for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), said that USCIS has made significant changes to maximize the use of the limited number of visas available, which included enhanced information exchange with the U.S. Department of State (DOS). He said USCIS has adopted a production strategy that “focuses on completing cases where visas are immediately available” which should reduce the inventory of applications for visa categories that exceed the number of visas actually available. Stephen A. Edson, deputy assistant secretary of state for Visa Service in the DOS, said that the goal of DOS is to come as close as possible to the annual limits of visas, without exceeding the limit. Charles Oppenheim, chief of Visa Control and Reporting Division for DOS, said that the recapture of visas would provide relief for employment-based visas and for reuniting husbands and wives. Aytes said USCIS and DOS have increased their coordination efforts, and that USCIS is using the anticipated dates for priority provided by DOS to process petitions. Lofgren said that in 2007, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics observed that legal immigration decreased by 17 percent “due primarily to application processing issues at USCIS.” Aytes said part of this decrease was due to USCIS trying to move out of the backlog process, therefore they were not able to process as many applicants. He clarified that there are two types of backlogs: processing backlogs, and backlogs caused by higher demand for immigration than the limits set by the law allow. He said USCIS is making progress in processing immigrant visas, but there is still a long way to go.

The Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugee, Border Security, and International Law held a hearing today on “ Wasted Visas, Growing Backlogs.” Chair Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Ca.) said the goal of the hearing was to “examine the consistent failure by our immigration agencies to issue all the family- and employment-based immigrant visas authorized by law each year, despite the ongoing demand for such visas.” With Rep. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.), former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, she has developed legislation to recapture unused visas and to allow the visas to be used in the future.

Michael Aytes, acting deputy director for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), said that USCIS has made significant changes to maximize the use of the limited number of visas available, which included enhanced information exchange with the U.S. Department of State (DOS). He said USCIS has adopted a production strategy that “focuses on completing cases where visas are immediately available” which should reduce the inventory of applications for visa categories that exceed the number of visas actually available.

Stephen A. Edson, deputy assistant secretary of state for Visa Service in the DOS, said that the goal of DOS is to come as close as possible to the annual limits of visas, without exceeding the limit. Charles Oppenheim, chief of Visa Control and Reporting Division for DOS, said that the recapture of visas would provide relief for employment-based visas and for reuniting husbands and wives. Aytes said USCIS and DOS have increased their coordination efforts, and that USCIS is using the anticipated dates for priority provided by DOS to process petitions.

Lofgren said that in 2007, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics observed that legal immigration decreased by 17 percent “due primarily to application processing issues at USCIS.” Aytes said part of this decrease was due to USCIS trying to move out of the backlog process, therefore they were not able to process as many applicants. He clarified that there are two types of backlogs: processing backlogs, and backlogs caused by higher demand for immigration than the limits set by the law allow. He said USCIS is making progress in processing immigrant visas, but there is still a long way to go.

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  1. lol May 26, 2008 at 3:53 am #

    Are they handing out icecreams? lol… they are trying to hand out green cards…. what a joke? I dont think these bills are gonna pass (they have failed for the last 13 years)

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