The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has experienced a 91% increase in its average processing time of immigration cases from FY 2014 to 2018, which has led to increases in its case backlog. In response to the substantial increase in case backlog, a bipartisan bill named the Case Backlog and Accountability Act of 2020 was introduced in the House of Representatives on February 26 and is being backed by Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Steve Stivers (R-OH).
The Case Backlog and Accountability Act would amend the Immigration Services and Infrastructure Improvements Act of 2000 and put stricter requirements in place for USCIS. The Act would require USCIS to publish detailed quarterly and annual reports both on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website and to several committees in the House and Senate. The quarterly report would require USCIS to include the net backlog, gross backlog, and pending immigration benefit applications, along with updates on cases in active suspense categories, and the average processing time for each benefit application. The annual report would extend upon the already existing annual report requirements by requiring a plan to be detailed on how to decrease case backlog, an analysis of factors pertaining to the backlog, data on case processing efficiency, and information on DHS allocation of funds.
Currently, the Case Backlog and Accountability Act is being reviewed by the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship and has been in this subcommittee since March 10. If passed, this act would hold USCIS accountable both through Congressional oversight and public pressure, as the reports would be published publicly on DHS' website. It is the hope of Representatives Cárdenas and Stivers that this act will help to decrease case delays, backlog, and the ‘limbo' time period that individuals and families go through while waiting for their case to be processed.
This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances. For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to call me at 214-494-8033, complete my contact form