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“Crisis-Level” Visa Backlog Biggest Barrier For U.S. Immigrants

May 24, 2021

USCIS building

Boundless filed a 7-page public comment laying out the largest barriers applicants face when applying to immigrate to the United States. The comment was is in response to a request for public input from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on how the agency can improve access and reduce barriers to its immigration services and benefits. The deadline for submitting a comment was May 19, 2021.

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Key barriers identified in the Boundless public comment include:

  • Crisis-level processing backlogs — In recent years, overall application processing times have surged by 25%, despite a roughly 10% decrease in overall filings received by USCIS. “This incredible increase in processing times is directly tied to several policies implemented in the past four years by the agency itself,” wrote Boundless. To tackle the backlog, Boundless recommends that USCIS overturn inefficient policies and procedures, such as eliminating unnecessary interviews and rescind harmful regulations that serve only to penalize U.S. employers, non-citizens, asylum applicants, and unaccompanied minors. “These regulations damage the United States’ ability to build a strong labor force that can compete on the global stage, as well as damaging our standing in the world as a moral leader.” In addition, Boundless suggests that USCIS increase its hiring and training at all service centers, field offices, and its customer contact center.
  • Expand access to electronic filing – Boundless urges USCIS to expand the number of forms available for electronic processing and introduce an application filing interface (API) to allow attorneys and other intermediaries to more easily submit forms on behalf of applicants. “The fact that the majority of forms must still be paper-filed is costly for users and creates needlessly unwieldy [Alien-Files] for adjudicators to review and store,” wrote Boundless.
  • Return USCIS to its core mission — By restoring the agency’s prior mission statement, USCIS would demonstrate that it is committed to what President Biden has called “our character as a Nation of opportunity and of welcome,” ensuring that “our laws and policies encourage full participation by immigrants, including refugees, in our civic life; that immigration processes and other benefits are delivered effectively and efficiently; and that the Federal Government eliminates sources of fear and other barriers that prevent immigrants from accessing government services available to them.”

Boundless also applauded USCIS for the efforts it has already made to improve its policies and procedures, including revoking the 2019 public charge rule, which made it harder for low-income immigrants to obtain green cards.

You can read the full comment here.

About Boundless

Boundless Immigration ( is dedicated to empowering families to navigate the immigration system more confidently, rapidly, and affordably. Established in 2017 by immigration and technology experts — many of whom went through the U.S. immigration process themselves — the company helps thousands of people with their green card and U.S. citizenship applications each month. Boundless has dramatically streamlined these immigration processes by integrating technology with a network of independent immigration attorneys, at a fraction of the cost of a traditional attorney.

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