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WHEN Will USCIS Go Back to Normal?

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When will USCIS be back to normal? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our offices in St. Louis, Missouri and San Diego, California. It’s a crazy time in immigration, things are still going really slowly. I was in an immigration interview the other day out in San Diego and the officer was talking to us about how, because of corona they’re still not able to process their cases as quickly as they can. Now, this is a huge office. It was probably four times bigger than the office in St. Louis, not as big as Chicago or New York, but it was a plenty big office. When we went in the back, we actually had a supervising officer as our officer asking the questions. And so we went through the whole office and there are tons of officers there, but they really just can’t have that many people into the office, into the waiting room at any time.

So they’ve really staggered what they’re doing. And it’s really cut down on the ability of the agency to move the cases quickly. Now, I talk all the time about how some of this delay is purposeful. And I do think it is and I think in certain cases on a case by case basis, they’re definitely slowing down certain cases and choosing to expedite or to speed up other cases. But that being said, it’s been a strange couple years at immigration. You know we’ve had the Trump administration doing everything they can to add all these layers of complexity and layers of reviews and encouragement of denials, encouragement of requests for evidence. And I think that it’s going to take quite some time for that to sort of work itself out. Whenever you give a government bureaucracy, whether it’s the IRS or the poet bureau or the immigration service extra power, it’s very, very hard to rest to pull that power away from the agency. Once given it’s very hard to get that power back.

So I do think that even with well intentioned people in the Biden administration, there are going to be those in the USCIS, maybe the lifers, the people who’ve been there for a long time, it’s going to be hard to get them to change their mindset to a more fair and a more just immigration approach. So I think it’s going to take about a year and a half, two years before things really sort of get back to a reasonable semblance of normalcy. It took a while for the Trump administration’s changes to really take effect. And at first it was sort of slow. We had crazy things like the Muslim ban and the other assault on asylum and all those things. But then as the people that were in there sort of got going, that you started to see things happening faster and faster.

And we saw a thousand… A thousand changes. Over a thousand changes to the immigration process. All without any change to the law. The Trump administration came up with a very restrictive view of how immigration should be interpreted. And so we really saw that that took a while for them to get it into place. But now that it’s in place, it’s going to be really hard for the Biden team to sort of undo that. Imagine you have a big cruise ship and it’s pointed in one direction and that’s destination no. And now you got to get this big cruise ship, tens of thousands of USCIS employees, pointed to another direction, destination yes. And so… And maybe it should just be destination fair, but it’s never that. It’s always sort of leaning one side to the other. And I would say destination yes is more closer to destination fair because if you are eligible for that benefit, their job is to approve it.

Their job is not to go off and find other reasons to deny it, their job is to approve it. So I do think it’s going to take some time for things to get back to normal at USCIS. Hope this makes sense and I hope it happens faster than I thought. If you have questions about it, give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called immigrant home. And if you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social. That you subscribe to our YouTube channel and that you join us every Tuesday and Thursday, usually at noon central time, where I’ll be answering as many questions as I can in the immigrant home Facebook group and on our YouTube channel. And we’ll be doing that every Tuesday, Thursday. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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