Immigrants Sue DHS Over Delayed EB Case Adjudications
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) September 3, 2021 – A group of 125 Chinese and Indian nationals sued the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) over the potential loss of green cards once the annual quota expires by the end of the current fiscal year. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that delays in green card processing times would cause them to miss a prime opportunity to become legal permanent residents, forcing them to wait years or decades more to regain eligibility for residency.
Chakrabarti v. USCIS was filed in a Maryland district court on August 2, 2021. Around 100,000 employment-based green cards that rolled over from the unused family category are at risk of wastage this year if USCIS does not adjudicate applications for adjustment of status by September 30, 2021.
“Facing a rare opportunity to jump-start processing long-backlogged employment-based visa numbers for citizens of China and India, DHS simply rolled on with business as usual — and missed the opportunity to expedite processing pending adjustment cases and use the scarce additional employment-based visa numbers which became available,” commented Stewart Rabinowitz of the Dallas and Frisco law firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “At a time of high skilled worker shortages in the U.S., dashing the hopes of needed Chinese and Indian applicants represents a de facto short-sighted policy. Perhaps the Administration will pay attention when opportunity knocks in the future.”
The lawsuit is asking the court to compel USCIS to adjudicate the plaintiffs’ applications by the end of the current fiscal year. The plaintiffs, who are already approved for employment-based green cards, have been waiting years for a visa number to become available. One of the plaintiffs, Atreyi Chakrabarti, is a physician who has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been waiting nine years for a visa number. Like many other applicants, she expressed frustration with long USCIS processing times, and an inefficient system weighed down by bureaucracy.
USCIS faces historic application backlogs due to the closure of immigration offices in the United States and U.S. consulates overseas amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Former President Donald Trump’s April 2020 ban on immigrant visas has also contributed to the slowdown in green card approvals.