Immigrant asylum seekers put lives on hold due to green card wait

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Relief may be coming, but the changes have yet to be felt on the pitch. And now, immigrants applying to become permanent residents after being granted asylum face “some of the longest delays among the wider immigrant population trying to adjust their status,” said Conchita Cruz, co- executive director of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project.

“The problem for them, I think, is worse than for other groups,” Cruz said. “In terms of statistics, it’s worse. The delay is longer.

A persistent backlog

USCIS processed more than 570,000 applications for permanent residence in fiscal year 2021, which ended September 30. The majority of these involved foreign citizens requesting to change their status through a family member or their employer.

While USCIS receives significantly fewer green card applications from asylum seekers, a smaller population, data shows the agency is processing those applications at lower rates compared to the number of incoming applications.

USCIS processed just 22,000 asylum-based green card applications last fiscal year and received nearly 45,000 new ones. This means USCIS received more than twice the number of such applications compared to last year, making it the green card category with the lowest processing rate.

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