Process Green Cards within 6 months: US presidential panel
In what could bring cheer to thousands of Indian-Americans, a US presidential advisory commission has unanimously recommended the Joe Biden Administration process all Green Cards or permanent residency applications within six months. If adopted, recommendations of the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (PACAANHPI) will bring relief to many, including those who've been waiting for Green Cards for decades.
- The lack of reforms has resulted in family-based immigration levels declining to their absolute minimum every year for the last two decades, said a PACAANHPI member.
- The employment-based immigration system is also deeply flawed.
- In 2021, only 65,452 family Green Cards were issued of the annual 2,26,000 Green Cards available.
- In March this year, there were 4,36,700 pending interviews and 4,21,358 in April.
The proposal was moved by Indian-American community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria during a PACAANHPI meeting. The panel recommended several measures to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to reduce the pending Green Card backlog by reviewing processes, systems, and policies. It also advised streamlining processes, removing redundant processes, automating any manual approvals, improving internal dashboards and reporting systems, and enhancing policies, PTI reported.
PACAANHPI's recommendations aim to ensure family-based Green Card applications, DACA renewals, and other forms are processed within six months. It recommended additional workforce be hired at the National Visa Center (NVC) State Department facility to increase Green Card application interview applications by 100% in three months from August. Applications for visa interviews and adjudicate decisions should also be enhanced by 150% by April 2023.
The panel also recommended that the USCIS should extend premium processing to more employment-based Green Card applications, all work permit petitions, and temporary immigration status extension requests. It also suggested that the applicants should have their cases adjudicated within 45 days in a phased approach by paying $2,500.
Suggesting it would make it easier for the immigrants to live and work in the US, the panel recommended the USCIS should review applications for work permits, travel documents, and temporary status extensions or changes within three months and adjudicate decisions. Bhutoria also noted the country's immigration system has largely remained unchanged even though the population has substantially increased in recent times, PTI reported.
As thousands of Green Cards for family members go wasted, Bhutoria elaborated on how family separation takes a terrible emotional toll on people. He said such a separation "imposes clear logistical, economic, and emotional hardships on families, and the growing nature of the backlogs makes the process uncertain and future planning impossible." He said these Green Cards could instead be used for reuniting families.