The most recent USCIS data shows a backlog of 8.6 million applications.
That's not a small number. And that number represents at least double or triple that in the amount of loved ones whose reunification is dependent on the processing of a USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) petition.
We've discussed before the backlog that USCIS is dealing with, but the U.S. government is publicly acknowledging now that individuals and families should not be penalized for USCIS' failure to process its paperwork in a timely manner.
A Presidential Advisory released in July 2023 recommends that the 2.3 million green cards that went unused since 1992 be retroactively applied for family and employment based categories, ensuring that “all green cards, per annual limit, remain available for an eligible immigrant even if the agencies cannot process the relevant paperwork in that fiscal year.”
Every year the U.S. government issues a specific number of family-based and employment-based immigrant visas. However, if USCIS does not process all of the allotted number of green card applications in that year, they end up sitting ‘unused' - a number that could have represented individuals being issued permanent residency and instead equals longer and longer wait times. The idea behind the Presidential Advisory is that these 2.3 million unused green cards could be ‘recaptured' - that people waiting could still benefit from what Congress intended in its green card allotment, even if USCIS is delayed.
Could the Presidential Advisory Recommendation Help My Green Card Application?
The recommendation won't result in a direct application process to be considered for the recaptured green card allotment, but if USCIS is able to do what the Biden Administration is hoping, it may result in immigrant visa petitions that have been backlogged finally getting approved. Like other USCIS backlogs that the Agency has been working on reducing, this recommendation may finally mean some forward movement for certain employment and family based green card applications.
If you have questions about applying for a visa or immigration petition please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.