Growing Frustrations with the U.S. Immigration System

Ally Bolour, Esq.
Bolour / Carl Immigration Group
It’s no surprise that after almost 4 years of Trump Administration’s direct and often unlawful attacks on the U.S. immigration system, working within this space has become extremely challenging. Lately, even filing of petitions for benefits that applicants clearly qualify for has become an issue.

USCIS is now rejecting applications in masses claiming any number of excuses, the most notable being that they were not completed properly. For example, on any USCIS form, even if the question does not apply to the applicant, and it says so in the instructions to move onto the next question, the applicant must actually write in n/a or “not applicable” in order for it to be considered as “complete.” Even if you do that, some applications are rejected because of USCIS’ own “service error!”

Even sending correct filing fees for petitions is now an issue. USCIS has been changing filing fees, often increasing them, or assigning fees where there were previously none needed, on very short notice. For example, on Friday October 16th, USCIS announced that it would be increasing the premium processing fee on Monday October 19th, leaving many people scrambling over a weekend as they prepared to file their respective petitions. Asylum applicants must now provide a biometrics fee, even on their first request for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD.) Most asylum-based EAD applicants are now required to wait 365 days as opposed to 150 days before making an initial application.

At the same time, some citizens and organizations are filing complaints in federal courts all over the country which sometimes lead to local injunctions or outright decisions, which are then appealed, from which come further decisions on the issue, resulting in patchwork of rules creating mass confusions on even what the filing fee might be in a particular part of the country. Immigration attorneys all over the country have to check multiple times on just the filing fee alone before sending out any petition.

Litigating cases in immigration courts have also become extremely complex as the Attorney General assigns well established cases to himself in record numbers, so to render a different decision which then prompts litigation in federal courts resulting again in different rules applied depending on which immigration court your case is in. It’s a vicious circle on multiple levels that I believe is created to destroy our semi-functioning immigration system.

Even under the best of times, immigration law was often referred to as the most complex body of law after tax law. With Covid rampant all over the country, USCIS offices and immigration courts with limited capacity, and a backlog of cases that is just growing as a result, there is legitimate frustration on the part of applicants, whether they be businesses or families needing some amount of certainty. Our team of attorneys is always available to provide you with solutions on how to move your immigration case forward. Call us at 323-857-0034 or visit us at