I. IV MEMBERS AT EVERY STAGE
We have members at each stage of the process: labor certification backlog, retrogression backlog, USCIS backlog. Some of our most active members have not got their labor certification.
Members who are further along have not forgotten the length of delay and pain of the previous step. We are ALL really in the same boat.
II. WE EMPHASIZE THE EFFECT OF CUMULATIVE DELAYS
The most devastating problem for EB green card applicants is the cumulative effect of delays at each stage. Each delay in isolation may even be bearable (only in theory) but when you pile one on top of the other it is unconscionable. We emphasize this in our new presentation (out shortly).
When we meet with lawmakers or talk with other organizations in the coalition we give personal examples and it is this fact of delay piling on top of delay that most of them are shocked by.
III. DOL-BEC & USCIS BACKLOGS ARE ALREADY SUBJECT TO CONGRESSIONAL & PRESIDENTIAL MANDATES
DOL-BECs were created as a result of considerable protest and intervention by Congress.
USCIS Backlog Processing is also subject to Presidential mandate for 6 months processing by September 2006. Congressional hearing transcripts show that members of Congress are well aware of these issues, even the problems with repeat fingerprinting etc.
So both DOL-BEC and USCIS Backlog Processing are at the stage of implementing bureaucratic changes, implementing Congressional and Presidential mandates.
We *are* pressing for transparency and better implementation at both these stages, as well as for 3 year extensions of H-1Bs, EADs and Advance Paroles for those who are stuck in the Green Card process instead of the current one year.
IV. RETROGRESSION HAS BEEN TOTALLY IGNORED BY CONGRESS & THE PRESIDENT
In contrast to DOL-BEC and USCIS Backlog Processing, Congress has never addressed the issue of Retrogression.
So the Retrogression problem is a systemic, policy problem.
It will affect all of us eventually, no matter what stage we are at. And it is only going to get worse, and the delay at this stage is the longest of all. Even if cutoff dates move forward, there is nothing to stop them from moving back again once USCIS starts processing visas faster (see posts on how visa cutoff dates are determined).
It took a tremendous amount of effort to get Congressional and Presidential mandates to do something about DOL and USCIS backlogs and it will take a tremendous amount of effort to get Congressional action on Retrogression.
In summary, we urge you to get involved with Immigration Voice no matter at what stage of the green card process you are. We are all in the same boat. Immigration Voice is getting your issues heard wherever it goes. We are totally committed to getting the job done - this is not a half-hearted group of people. Look at what we have done in just 40 days.
With Comprehensive Immigration on the anvil and with PACE bringing the issue of American Competitiveness and the need for skilled and qualified immigrants, there can be no better time to highlight our problems. Legislative changes are necessary for us and the only way that can happen is if you get involved.
RECENT IMMIGRATION VOICE ACTIVITIES:
Signing with Quinn Gillespie & Associates who will work with us to (a) get corporate sponsorship
(b) get access to key policymakers
(c) craft an effective legislative strategy
(d) design a media strategy
Coordinating with other groups like Compete America
Getting the word out in the community
Setting up of the organizational and resource infrastructure including the website and forums for discussion
A tremendous amount of behind the scenes efforts to improve the quality of our materials and message.
Visit our website at www.immigrationvoice.org and get involved.