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.

About TRNS Washington Desk

View all posts by TRNS Washington Desk
TRNS Washington Desk
News updates from on and around Capitol Hill.

No Responses to “Immigration visas going unused while backlogs grows” Subscribe

  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)

Leave a Reply

Friday, January 30

● 2014 election cost over $3.8 billion

● Super Bowl brings super seizure

● Georgia’s debtor prisons under fire

● Alabama jurist’s advice is worthless

● FOIA suit pierces PATRIOT Act secrecy

● Puerto Rico cops go on a crime spree

LISTEN: The Day Ahead – January 30, 2015

The Day Ahead Logo

Ukrainian peace talks kick off in Minsk and African Union leaders gather to discuss plans to confront Boko Haram.

Senate Approves Keystone XL Pipeline

Capitol

However, prospects of the Keystone XL pipeline being approved are grim as the White House has already issued a veto threat, and the Senate does not appear to have the 67 votes necessary to override that veto.

Graham Laying Groundwork For Potential 2016 Run

LindseyGraham

“What I’m looking at is, is there a pathway forward on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire for a guy like me? I don’t know until I look,” Graham reportedly told reporters on Thursday.

FCC Votes To Increase Minimum Broadband Internet Speeds

Photo/TRNS

According to the FCC, more than half of all rural Americans are currently unable to access the updated speeds set forth today, and hopes that this move will fast track that progress.

LISTEN: The World in 2:00 – January 29, 2015

The World in 2:00 continents logo

A new report challenges the economic, environmental and humanitarian case for biofuels.