Why is USCIS so slow? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Today’s question is off one of our YouTube commenters. His name is Nick, and here’s what Nick says. “Here’s one for the next video, Jim. How come in 2020, with all the technology we have available, USCIS still sends letters through the mail instead of email? And why are cases taking so goddamn long when it can be done within weeks? LOL.” Thanks, Nick, and thanks for watching the channel.
I sort of want to take your questions in reverse order. Cases are taking a long time because that’s on purpose. The Trump administration has done everything they can to slow down legal immigration to the United States. They tried to pass legislation early in the administration to basically halt legal immigration in the United States. They derisively call it chain migration, family-based immigration. They want to do everything they can to stop legal immigration to the United States. Those proposals in Congress went nowhere. Only the hardliner nuts like Steve King, who got voted out of office, and Tom cotton and some other fundamentalist Republican xenophobes who hate immigrants, voted for that.
The laws went nowhere. So Trump is trying to do administratively what he can’t do legislatively. He’s putting in all these procedures and mechanisms in order to make the process take longer. They’re doing it all under the guise of rooting out immigration fraud, but really it’s just an attempt to slow down immigration legally to the United States. As far as handling cases electronically, instead of by paper, Al Gore said famously that we would all be paperless and that there was a directive from he and President Clinton to cut down on the paperwork used by federal agencies like USCIS, but if anyone has ever been to an immigration office, there’s nothing but paper. It’s the great tree killer of the 21st century. USCIS uses more paper than anyone.
Now, they are trying to get into things more electronically. You can file your N400 and some other forms electronically. We still file everything on paper. We don’t trust them. We like to have proof that it was actually delivered. We like to have our checks actually cashed. We like to be able to track a case. So we are still filing things on paper. They’re still sending letters and notices by mail… You’re right, Nick… but they also are starting to do electronic alerts. These can be helpful. It’s one of the few things that they’ve done to make life easier, but you’re right, Nick, they’re way, way, way behind. They’re still operating in many ways like it’s 1980, not 2020. Thanks for the note, Nick. Thanks for watching.
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