The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has increased their wait time on immigrant benefit applications by 46% since the last full Fiscal Year (FY) of the Obama administration, FY 2016. Meanwhile, the number of new applications has fallen. In fact, processing times have increased by 19% from FY 2017 to 2018, despite the receipt of new applications decreasing by 17%. The numbers suggest that the Trump administration has slowed the processing time for all types of USCIS applications.


Created in 2002, the USCIS was intended to be an agency that provided immigration benefits to its clients. The elimination of application backlogs and prevention of future backlogs were top priorities. Now, new security protocols delay the processing of almost every application and bring many cases to a halt altogether. The organization is treated more like an enforcement agency than a service center.

Crisis-Level Delays

The processing time of an Application for Naturalization (N-400) rose from 8 to over 10 months from FY 2017 to 2018. Other application processing times went from 8 to 11 months and from 3 to 4 months. Jason Boyd, policy counsel at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), warns:

“Longer processing times mean families struggle to make ends meet, survivors of violence and torture face danger, and US companies fall behind. Millions of individuals and employers need, and need now, an efficient, fair, service-oriented agency that exemplifies our nation of immigrants.”

While Trump discusses building a physical wall for illegal immigrants, he is inserting “bricks” into an “’invisible wall’ curbing legal immigration in the United States.” As a result, many immigrants are suffering needless harm, along with their families and employers.

Moving Forward

The AILA suggests that the USCIS stop the practice of approaching every immigrant as a security risk. Instead, the AILA urges the USCIS to start providing service to its customers once again, and to begin making its operations more transparent to the public. Because the agency has had such a poor track record for the past two years, the AILA also encourages Congress to exercise oversight authority over the agency.

What to Do if You Need Help Now

Although immigration proceedings can be complex and tedious, they must be followed for you to obtain legal status in the United States. If you are having difficulties, our immigration lawyers at Maria Jones Law Firm may be able to help. We have over 15 years of immigration law experience and are passionate about helping a range of diverse clients with the immigration process. Our firm offers services in English, Spanish, and Russian and is available 24/7 for any immigration questions you may have.

Don’t hesitate to call us at (602) 603-4032 today, or request a free home visit or consultation online.Categories