USCIS and immigration delays

something that makes me incredibly angry, especially because ola (and i alongside him) have been through this process, is the USCIS and department of homeland security. with all of the debate about illegal immigration in this country, something that often gets totally ignored is the treatment that LEGAL immigrants receive. the Times today had an editorial that touched the tip of the iceberg concerning some of the problems surrounding the issue. It’s here: The Citizenship Surge

the focus of the article is largely on two things – the increased fees associated with gaining long-term visas, green cards and naturalization, and the incredibly long waits that immigrants are facing in trying to obtain a change of status. the article is very mild, as, i guess you’d expect an article to be, when written by a total outsider to this system. however, i have to say that this is something that gets me really upset, really fast. our experience with USCIS was horrible, to say the least. let’s start with customer service. the people at the counters? evil. i understand that they aren’t going to take a personal interest in our case, have long conversations with us, and that they are probably overworked and underpaid. however, we don’t need to be yelled at by the woman at the counter for no apparent reason. we don’t need to come in, and wait 3 hours in the waiting room to take care of 5 minutes worth of business. we don’t need to be spoken to like we are imbeciles.

we had the opportunity to see how many times they could lose some part of ola’s file (i think it was 3 times). the great thing is, when they lose part of your file, they don’t tell you. i guess it just sits on a desk until YOU call to see what’s wrong, and then you get yelled at for not submitting something. which, of course, we had submitted. I had a photocopy at home in our file. but that didn’t matter, because they lost the original. and they couldn’t care less about the copy i kept as proof.

a process that was supposed to take 6 months took 18+ months. only after repeated (belated) letters to our senators and representatives did the case move along. then, once it was approved, the card still did not arrive for another 4 or 5 months at least.

the final straw for all of this is that there is no recourse when you’re treated like crap by the government like this. that’s because the same people that treat you like shit can also put your file at the bottom of the pile and pretend you don’t exist for years. they also have the power to deny green cards, visas and citizenships. and after our experiences, i can believe that some people in those offices would deny somebody’s application for something like a complaint about service.

finally…people live in the US for YEARS, want to be here, get a college and often post-graduate education here, work their butts off (because as non-residents, they are not eligible for low-interest loans or any federal grants) and then have to maneuver/fight to stay and continue to contribute to the economy and the work force because of the policies that we have in place in this country.  i know an awful lot of incredibly bright people who have simply left the country instead of fighting the US system to stay and work here in industries like finance, health, law, and the social sector.  i can tell you that it’s been a loss for the US and our future here in this country every time.

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2 Responses to “USCIS and immigration delays”

  1. Carmen Smith Says:

    Thankyou for your well written article.
    I married and American originally born and raised in New Zealand.
    I have just begun the Immigration process and going by the confusion in just obtaining the correct ( lets hope so anyway) Im already exhausted.
    I heard before coming here that they (USA) take a very long time to process documents ,however we just did not have the time in NZ so decided to do it all here . How I wished we had taken the time now.

    My instincts tell me this is going to make an easy application into a drawn out costly one.
    Regards
    C

  2. I just had this experience today, I went to the local field office in philadelphia(1600 callowhill) and the people completly treated me like crap including the security guard who told my mom I need to get smacked in the head because I didnt know which way the counter was. The lady at the counter was totally dismissive of me and told me completely wrong information, her supervisor(“officer” Noyce) was equally dismissive and rude. The first time I went to the office today I had a hint the lady was just tryng to get rid of me so when I left, I called the 1800 number to USCIS and the customer service guy told me that the “officers” were wrong and I needed to go back. When I did I talked to the supervisor with the lady who originally helped me standing next to me, they seriously would not let me explain myself or finish a sentence. I understand that I am not a US citizen but I am a legal immigrant who pay taxes I feel they treated me like I was a leper!!!!!

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