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Green Cards Wasted as Backlog Triples in 2021

The latest report released by the USCIS on the first day of 2022 is quite surprising but expected. The information contained in the report about the processing and case completion data of all the different categories of applications shows that more than 200000 green cards were wasted in the previous year, 2022.

USCIS Report in Detail

According to an old report of USCIS, there was a backlog of around 2.5 million cases at the end of FY2019. Due to the inability of USCIS to function during in the last couple of years, the backlogs compounded to a net total of 6.1 million actual pending cases at the end of the fiscal year 2020. The number of applications kept on rising on the tables of USCIS as the number of backlogs exploded. Here are a few key stats about USCIS’s performance in 2021.

Approval Rate

With all the odds obstructing the working capabilities of USCIS, the authority still managed to approve roughly 69% of the 8.84 million immigration applications submitted to USCIS in FY2021. At the same time, a little more than 808,000 were denied.

However, despite USCIS completing nearly 80% of the cases it received in FY2021, the processing backlog at the agency grew to more than 8 million pending cases at the end of FY2021.

On the other hand, the overall approval rate fell from 85% last year to only 69% at the end of September 2021. And the overall rejections also fell from 11.5% in FY2020 to only 9% in F.Y. 2021.

Work Authorizations

The backlog of pending applications for Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) exploded in F.Y. 2021.

The backlog of pending processing Employment Authorization Documents exploded in F.Y. 2021, and the number of I-765 Applications received in USCIS increased from 1.97 million in 2020 to 2.61 million in 2021. By the end of 2021, a huge backlog of 1.48 million Work Authorization was pending.

K-1 Fiance Visas

K-1 fiance visas are for people in love and who want to start their life together, but one of the partners is not a legal resident of the USA.

The number of petitions USCIS completed in 2021 fell by nearly 16%, from 36,913 to 31,084. It resulted in a 44% increase in the K-1 backlog, from 21,060 petitions by FY2020 to 30,408 at the end of FY2021.

I-751 Removal of Conditions Petitions – 2yr Conditional Green Card extended to 10 Years

The backlog of pending I-751s applications grew sharply through F.Y. 2021, from 205,390 at the end of December 2020 to 323,803 in September 2021. It’s a total increase of nearly 58 percent.

A Spike in the Inefficiency of USCIS – 200,000 Green Cards Wasted

The detailed report of the USCIS refers to a high level of insufficiency of the federal government to manage the processing and approval of applications.

Talking straight with numbers, the federal government failed to issue up to 230,000 green cards available in FY2021 for immigrants sponsored by U.S. employers or family members. Also, roughly 150,000 visas for family-based immigrants and 80,000 visas for employment-based immigrants “expired” on September 30, the last day of FY2021.

Among the major blunders that happened due to the lingering efficiency of USCIS, reportedly 80,000 of this number as mentioned above now COMPLETELY DISAPPEARED from the system because they were authorized as “additional” green cards from 2020 but could not be used.

I-130 Family Relative Petitions

Considering the status of I-130 Family Relative Petitions, overall denials fell in FY2021 to just under 11 percent.

Green Cards through Adjustment of Status inside the US

Family-based green card backlog – including the USCIS and Department of State- stands at 1.6 million cases in line. And the backlog in this category increased by 52% from 2020.

Asylum Petitions

Last in first out system in place from when Trump put it in place – brought it back from old times, and it’s now working still.

U.S. Citizenship Naturalization

Another figure to extract from the report is the number of people applying for U.S. citizenship in 2021 that fell by 19%.

In a good turn of events, USCIS processed more applications for naturalization than it received in 2021, approving 800,571 of the applications submitted by non-military civilians and denying just under 11 percent. That means they processed some old 2020 applications, and the general approval rate was high at 89%.

The Stats – What Do These Numbers Mean?

Have a look at how the numbers reflect the hampering of USCIS’ functioning during the last fiscal year. Read the complete interpretation below.

📍 U.S. Immigration entered FY2020 with a 2.5 million case backlog due to an “unanticipated increase in the overall numbers of petition and application filings after the 2016 presidential election,” the implementation of the 2016 fee rule, and “the growing complexity of the work: increasing complexity and length of forms, new statutory and policy decisions, and increased security checks.” 

📍 The rate at which NEW applications were being filed outpaced USCIS’ capability to process and make decisions and complete applications within reasonable processing timeframes.

📍 By the beginning of FY2021, the backlog exploded to 6.4 million cases, going to 8 million by the end of FY2021, and tripled.

📍 Processing times have also risen dramatically, which have cascading serious effects rippling throughout people’s lives, communities, and society at large, including:

✔ Immigrants waiting in the Work Authorization backlog can lose (and lost) their jobs as their work permits expire

✔ Conditional permanent residents (who filed for 2 yr green cards to transition to permanent 10-yr green cards) struggled to prove their work authorizations were NOT expired and were restricted from traveling freely with their green cards until their I-751s are approved;

✔ Nonimmigrant visa holders such as H-1B employees were and are still unable to change jobs as they wait for their employment-based green card applications to be approved. Companies are struggling to staff offices and projects given the uncertainty of skyrocketing processing times — the impact on immigrants, their families, and the U.S. is enormous.

What is USCIS Doing About it? What is the Solution?

In response to the dramatically rising problem with the functioning of USCIS, the authority has taken a few steps to fight the demon of backlogs and clear the racks from the immense amount of applications.

The USCIS started reusing Biometrics. New USCIS director Ur Jaddou (an experienced Immigration policy analyst) was appointed, and new Secretary of DHS Alexander Mayorkas was appointed, and the politicians talked about fixing the problem. 

On the positive side – because so many more people are filing for Immigration benefits, they are financially finally in good shape.

Shepelsky Law Group – Best Immigration Attorneys Team in the U.S.

The few steps taken by the USCIS to improve the efficiency won’t make it an easy drive clear through the explosive amount of backlogs. According to experts at Shepelsky Law Group, the intensity of the problem requires the same level of strategic steps to pull away from the tragic situation from the USCIS offices.

If you are looking to get the best immigration services in the U.S., contact Shepelsky Law Group. We are the most trusted and best immigration law firm that helps its clients get the best immigration services. Our experienced immigration attorneys know the fundamentals of all the legal operations related to immigration and thus provide highly reliable immigration services all over the United States.

Contact Shepelsky Law Group today to get the best immigration services from professional Immigration Lawyers in the U.S.


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