There has been a recent announcement from the USCIS that they plan to close their offices overseas before the end of 2019. This announcement has shaken the immigration industry for both experts and immigrants alike. For those unfamiliar with how the USCIS works, there may be questions concerning what effect this may have on immigration services worldwide.
Why Did the USCIS Close Its Offices?
The current director of the USCIS, Francis Cissna, mentioned that this change was made in order to take the resources that were being utilized overseas and use them to help clear the backlog of immigration cases.
There are currently over 70 USCIS employees working in over 23 different offices overseas. Already, some of the offices have been closed and the employees sent back to the U.S. (namely Cuba and soon Russia).
According to the USCIS, closing these offices will save several million dollars and will not interrupt the normal operations of the agency.
What Does This Mean for Immigration?
The backlog that many refer to as the culprit for this change is the asylum backlog. There has been a recent spike in Central Americans seeking asylum in the U.S. over the past several months. By closing the offices, the Trump administration may hope to reduce this backlog.
It could also be that this focus on asylum cases could make it more difficult for family and employment-based immigration cases to be processed, some of whom have been waiting for over 20 years for their backlogs to be cleared. Those that are attempting to apply from outside the U.S. can still go through consular processing for whichever green card or visa they qualify for, since the U.S. embassies are remaining open and only the USCIS offices are closing. However, it may take much longer as the entire process will need to be done across countries rather than through a local office.
How Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help
This sudden and sweeping move seems to be par for the course over these last few years. If you are concerned about the future of your visa or green card due to this or any other announcement, we can help. Our immigration attorneys are well-versed in all types of visas and green cards and will fight to give you the best chance of approval to protect the investment you’ve made in your immigration journey. Fill out this contact form to schedule your consultation today.