USCIS Policy Changes and H1B Processing Delays - LIVE hearing

House Judiciary Immigration sub-committee hearing on USCIS processing delays.

Watch LIVE:

July 16, 2019, 12:00 noon Rayburn House Office Building Room 2237

See my comments and discussion points below.

LIVE text updates from hearing:

  1. USCIS processing delays cause great harm to families and increase costs.
  2. USCIS has shortage of consulting staff to approve immigration and non-immigrant applications.
  3. Implementation of security checks and policy changes have increased processing times.

What USCIS is doing to reduce processing time:

  1. Using electronic tools to process applications faster.
  2. i485 processing times have decreased due to lower applications and use of electronic means to process applications.

USCIS Questioning

  1. Applications have doubled in last decade.

  2. Is USCIS per officer increasing?
    – USCIS: yes

  3. How are you hiring new officers?
    – USCIS: Hiring more people actively

  4. What is USCIS doing to expedite the process
    – USCIS: We are fee funded agency and doing everything to speed up the process.

  5. Has anybody told you to slow down green card and H1B processing?
    – USCIS: NO
    – Me: This sounds funny! Offcourse, they can’t say Yes as it would be politically incorrect statement.

  6. USCIS new RFE NOID policy - any small mistake?
    – USCIS: RFE is generally issued at this time and we are not issuing NOIDs directly unless the application is really low on pre-requisite evidence.
    Change in policy did happen last year.

  7. HR 6 - DACA act passed - What are the implications on processing times if it becomes law
    – USCIS: It depends on the details of the law and if 2 million people apply for citizenship or green cards, then it will impact the processing times greatly.

  8. Houston - Average Green card application time is 15-18 months - causing loss of wages.
    Do you need more money to process faster?
    – USCIS: Yes. More money through fees helps get more resources.

  9. Have you placed any processes in place keeping in mind presidential election next year?
    – USCIS: Some of the applications see higher inflow in some states than others.
    Houston processing times are higher than other states at this time due to more applications filed there.

  10. USCIS is asking more proofs on Marriage based GC cases
    – USCIS: We do have extra questions and proof requirement to avoid marriage based GC fraud.

  11. Why there is increase in number of RFEs for H1B renewals? Was this PHD well fitted to job position? What has changed in H1B approvals now that was not available earlier?
    tech economy in Toronto is moving faster than San Francisco now.
    – USCIS: Number of policy changes have been made in H1B adjudication. Increase in RFE and denials is result of those changes.

  12. Why some H1B applications are approved after they are appealed for USCIS decision
    – USCIS - There is no study on the decision coming out of AAO. We do review cases where AAO overturned the USCIS decision.

  13. EAD delays are affecting lot of families. Any way to expedite their work permits?
    Is there a way to move them faster?
    – USCIS: We are concerned with processing times. We provided for auto extensions for some type of EADs. We have limited sources and we do try to prioritize the EADs over other types of applications.
    The hiring process also increases processing time as new officers need training.

My Opinion

There was no real plan of action or an answer that could help us know what’s going on internally beyond what we already know.
USCIS answers were politically correct and no signals of changing their stance.