Relative Green Card Applications
Immediate relative green card applications are now being processed slower than the previous 15-month wait. This has increased from the previous 5-month turn around due to the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) applications received. The amount of youths and children that have applied for the new system is around the 521,800 mark, since the implementation of this law in 2012.
The Obama Administration and DACA
Obama approved this action to help those children who had been brought to the United States as children by their parents. These children didn’t have and “choice”. Many ask “why should they be punished and live lives without access to the jobs and the careers that could lead them out of a life of poverty, providing something back to the communities in which they live?” Many have little connection to the country that they originally hail from and to return them to a country they have not lived in as adults would be an egregious error.
This is one of the reasons for the new law, the DACA, was introduced; a way to give these children some form of identity. But the sheer volume of applications has overwhelmed the department that is sorting through them, as well as the immediate relative green card applications. They are processing 2000 applications a day and they don’t see this “letting up” until the summer, when they hope to be back to the five month wait for the later applications.
Many believed the DACA law was a temporary measure that was going to be replaced with a system that gave these children a more permanent identity. Many supporters believe that there is a solution, not full American citizenship, but one that recognizes these children in a more formal capacity. Idealists hope that this will allow these children to grow up with some identity and allow them to become part of the country they live in.
This is a difficult time for those people left waiting, but no one could foresee in 2012 the response that this program would receive. People agreed with the President that these children deserve the right, but the hope to implement a more long-term solution has yet to be decided. At present, they need to apply for the DACA as a way to allow them to work and earn money legitimately in a country that for them is home. These children are often exploited and abused because of their legal standing in this country they call home, with low wages and with difficulty fighting for rights.
Giving these children the access to have some legal standing in the country has empowered them to find employment and a life. It is the right thing to do for these children; they can then add to and help grow the economy in a legitimate way. But this particular way of allowing recognition for these children, has led to a workforce that just doesn’t have the man power to put the actions in place. This requires additional processing of the applications of these children, and the department’s normal work. This had led to delays that have kept families apart for 15 months instead of the normal 5 months, which, before the DACA, was the length of time it took to process these claims.
Unfortunately, this department has had to endure months of over-work with a high pressure to respond to the claims that they need to process; mistakes could be made during the process that could lead to applications being wrongly denied or accepted. These are difficult times for those people that are on the end of the form waiting many months for decisions, the waiting process for them is too long, and changes need to be implemented sooner to allow those people to be with their families. It is a difficult time for staff too; no one could have anticipated the sheer volume of applications that would be received when Obama announced the DACA, the pressure is now lifting and a return to normal waiting times is near.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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