Thousands of Lawsuits Have Been Filed Over Wait Times, Backlogs at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Despite pledges from the Biden administration last year to combat processing delays and backlogs at U.S. immigration agencies, a new report published by Syracuse University finds that by the end of FY 2022 in September, over 6,000 lawsuits will have been filed against the federal government since September 2021 to compel action from U.S. immigration authorities. This is a 50 percent increase in lawsuits compared to the previous fiscal year.
But President Joe Biden can only shoulder so much of the blame. Shortly after former President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, the federal government implemented a broad hiring freeze on all nonmilitary employees that lasted for several months. In February 2020, the Trump administration directly targeted U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), freezing hiring for all nonasylum agent employees. Funded by the fees on paperwork submissions, USCIS’ revenue dried up during the COVID-19 pandemic as applications dwindled, prompting the administration to furlough three-quarters of the government’s immigration work force in the summer of 2020. Even though the furlough was resolved in August 2020 by Congress, many employees left the agency permanently, worried that it would become a permanent layoff.
While Biden lifted that hiring freeze in March 2021, many experts say the effects will persist. “When you implement a hiring freeze, what you’re actually doing is shrinking more personnel,” Jorge Loweree, managing director of programs and strategy at the American Immigration Council, tells Reason.
Article from Reason.com