Congress Requests Answers from USCIS

Last Updated on March 2, 2023

In a recent report, the American Immigration Lawyers Association stated case processing times of applications and petitions for immigration benefits have reached ‘crisis levels.’

Now, members of Congress are asking for answers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Lee Francis Cissna.

What Did AILA Find?

In their analysis of USCIS data, AILA found:

  • The overall average case processing time surged approximately 46 percent over the past two fiscal years
  • Since FY 2014, the average case processing time has increased 91 percent

AILA also reported that USCIS processed 94 percent of form types more slowly in FY 2018 compared to FY 2014. As a result, it’s believed the USCIS “net backlog” exceeded 2.3 million delayed cases at the end of FY 2017.

What Is Congress Asking?

In their letter to Director Cissa, members of Congress are asking for detailed responses to some of the following requests and inquiries:

  • The causes of the current backlog, including policies that may have contributed to the case backlog
  • How new policies impact processing times and if the backlog of 2.3 million cases is an all-time high
  • Why USCIS is seeking to transfer approximately $200 million to U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE)
  • Why processing times continue to rise even though case volume has declined
  • How USCIS intends to reduce and eliminate processing delays

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Gordie Rosoklija, who is a Senior Associate at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (, Envoy’s affiliated law firm.