Here is the initial draft of the letter that i would like us (ip.org) to send to all the congress men. Please review it and let me know the feed back. Please note that as i am from VSC , i do not know of deeper issues related to CSC, NSC and TSC centers. That's why this letter might look more of a complaint against VSC, but that was not my intention. I want people from other forums to suggest me what they want me to add.
Dear Honorable Senator/Congress(wo)man <XXXX>
Subject : Request for addressing the backlog for Employment based I-485 applications (Application for Adjustment of status for Permanent Residence) .
ImmigrationPortal.org is a non-profit organization formed by members of legal immigrant community, who intend to voice their concerns about and help contribute towards legal immigration reform in the United States of America.
We want to draw your attention to the excruciatingly slow and random progress of I-485 applications (Green Card applications) at California, Nebraska, Texas and Vermont Service centers.
We are happy that the congress men like you have put enough pressure on US CIS (formerly known as INS) to reduce the backlog of immigration applications. We are aware of the recent presentations of Mr Eduardo Aguire, the honorable director of Unites States Citizenship and Immigration Services, about the backlog reduction plan.
After reading the backlog reduction plan and the milestones, we would like to make the following submissions to you.
1. Random Processing
All the four service centers i.e. California, Nebraska, Texas and Vermont are processing the I485 applications in a highly random manner. We agree that each application has a unique history and hence there will be some differences in adjudicating times for different applications. But what we are seeing is not just some difference in timelines for applications filed at the same time, but in most of the cases, the difference in adjudicating times are just beyond comprehension. We have several members who have filed their applications in 2001 and still waiting for adjudication where as we started seeing many approvals for people who have filed their applications only in 2003. On any given day, we are seeing the simultaneous adjudications for people who have filed the I485 applications in a range of 18 months.
2. Showing the incorrect Current Processing Date
The Vermont Service Center is showing the current processing date for I485 applications as 02/15/2002. In fact, the current processing date has advanced only by 1 month during the last 6 months. The issue here is that Vermont Service Center is not publishing the correct processing date. Daily, through the postings of our members, we have been noticing that the actual adjudication of applications is taking place for applications received any where between October’2001 and April’ 2003. In fact, daily, we are seeing more adjudications for people who have filed their applications after February’2002 than who have filed before February 2002. When an applicant who is waiting for more than 1 year for the adjudication, is approaching his/her congress man, then US CIS is getting back to the congress man that they are currently processing application received on or before 02/15/2002 and they can not process the other applications out of turn. This is factually incorrect. Obviously US CIS is using the current processing date as a tool to prevent intervention of congress men to render justice to the suffering applicants.
3. Manipulating Average Cycle Time
In their recent backlog reduction plan milestones, US CIS has shown that they will bring down the average cycle time to 20 months by the end of FY2004. The average cycle time was defined as the average time taken, over the last 12 months, to approve an application. Currently Vermont Service Center is showing the official processing date as 02/15/2002. That means that on an average, official time taken to approve the application, is more than 28 months. We are wondering how the average can come down to 20 months within the next 3 months . If the applications are processed in a serial manner, then to achieve the average processing time of 20 months by September’30 of 2004 (FY2004), the official processing date has to advance to 01/31/2003. It is just hard to believe that they can advance the current processing date by almost 1 year within the next 3 months. Based on recent approval trend, we believe that US CIS is trying to achieve the target results by approving a large number of very recently filed applications so that it will bring down the average cycle time because the average cycle time depends on the wait times of the approved cases in the last 1 year. This is a highly manipulative method chosen by US CIS to show the congress that the backlogs are reducing where as the applications pending for more than 2 years are not going to see much change in the pace of approvals.
4. Transfers to District Offices
In many instances, US CIS is transferring a large number of cases from the main service centers at California , Nebraska, Texas and Vermont to its district offices in various states.
While we agree that US CIS has full rights to schedule interviews to any applicant, we are concerned at the time taken to schedule the interview at the local office for these applicants. In some district offices such as Atlanta, it is taking up to 2 yrs to schedule an interview. In the recent days, we have seen that US CIS is transferring a large number of cases to Missouri Service Center (MSC). Most of those people who got their applications transferred to MSC, have not got an interview schedule in more than a year. This is in addition to the large amount of time that the application was kept at the main service center such as California, Nebraska, Texas and Vermont. We request that interviews should be scheduled within 90 calendar days of transferring the application to a district office.
5 RFE Delays
In most of the cases, US CIS is asking the applicants to submit certain documents before approving the case. We have recieved several complaints from our members who have submitted all the required information in a timely manner and still could not get any decision from US CIS for more than 3 months. We request that US CIS should adjudicate such cases within 30 days of receiving the response from the applicants.
We believe that US CIS is accountable to the United States Congress and our only hopes of justice in this land of fairness, rest with a representative like you. We request you to ask US CIS to address the above concerns correctly. We will be looking forward to favorable action from US CIS. Please let us know if you have any questions.