Published May 18,2016
This past week, a letter signed by more than 300 organizations was sent to Leon Rodriguez, the Director of U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Citizenship and Immigration Services expressing deep concern for the extensive delays facing applicants for U visa status. Specifically, at present, it will take at least 2 years from the filing date for a U visa application to be reviewed by an immigration officer. Further, once approved, the applicant may end up waiting additional time if the annual supply of 10,000 U visas has been exhausted for the year in question (although approved applicants who are merely on the waiting list will be eligible to receive an employment authorization document).
The ever increasing delays plaguing the U visa process is a product of an increase in applications received, along with the failure of DHS/CIS to expand its workforce proportionally to keep up with the expanded work flow. Furthermore, based on current trends, there is only reason to believe that the delays will get worse absent some recognition by the agency of the problem and some significant intervention to expand agency resources.
As a review, each year 10,000 U visas – which include employment authorization and a path to permanent residence – are made available for foreign nationals who have been the victims of various enumerated crimes, and who are willing, or active, witnesses in the prosecution of the criminal perpetrator.
PUBLISHED May 18, 2016– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2016, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois