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  • Writer's pictureAlex T. Barak, P.A.

Harsh Handling of Legal Immigration

The USCIS does not seem to care about loosening it up some of the harsher policies that were implemented during the Trump administration.

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There used to be friendly customer service people to answer the USCIS 1-800 telephone and everyone had the ability to speak to someone about their case, to get some guidance, some information, and if necessary, to speak to a Tier 2 USCIS officer. The USCIS Officer would always call back and most times was helpful to resolve a problem.

This system is no longer is in place. If you call now, you can only leave a message. The customer service element of the USCIS is gone and it refuses to reinstate any. The USCIS has no imagination on how to accommodate the desperate people who come to the USA legally and who follow the rules.

Deterioration of USCIS Customer Service at the National and Local Levels

Although President Biden made some moves to lessen some severe measures, the present system of legal immigration is in shambles with no leadership, no direction, unfairness, violating the right to have checks and balances in place, frustrating thousands of people.

During the Trump administration, there were vast delays across the board, sometimes five times the waiting period from before the Trump administration took office. Work permits used to come in like clockwork in around three months and are now coming in anywhere between six months to 10 months. One of my clients did not receive hers for 14 months, even after a green card interview was held in which she passed. She was denied a driver's license by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles for this entire time.

Why doesn't the USCIS explain to the public why it is taken so long to issue work permits? It fails to address these issues. It does not seem to care about people applying through LEGAL IMMIGRATION. It seems to spend too much time with illegal Immigration on the borders.

The undersigned's clients are those who entered the United States legally. This means they applied for a visa abroad, were investigated/vetted by the U.S. Department of State, and entered the United States lawfully. And now they are going through proper legal channels to obtain their needed benefits, whether it is a work visa, asylum, a green card, or citizenship.

Infopass appointments, we are told by the USCIS, cannot resume because of Covid 19 and the need to keep a limited number of persons coming into the USCIS offices, while the USCIS has conducted in-person interviews since September 2020 and continues to do so.

Why can they not just reopen the Infopass appointments for immigration attorneys? Why are they keeping legitimate cases on hold with no decisions, with no responses., USCIS Officers are clogging the system, adding to the frustration of the immigrants, after they were told there is a new system of friendly immigration with the appointment of Alejandro Mayorcas as the Director of the Secretary of Homeland Security in the Biden administrations, with a “more humane treatment of legal immigrants.

The USCIS Customer Service Center Must Be Made More Accessible to attorneys

The USCIS has completely shot down the present ability of an attorney to inquire in person about a case, whether through the attorney/supervisor appointments which were always available until, December 2008 and with the Infopass system since December 2008. Instead of the Infopass system being more limited than before to avoid having many people coming just to complain that they were not called for interviews, the USCIS has virtually shut down this formerly great system.

How can we say there is proper fairness now with the U.S. legal immigration policies?

In addition, the undersigned, before Covid 19, was able to go with a client on an emergency basis at 7:00 a.m. when a parent or a close family member was dying or just died so that special travel permission would be obtained. I would go in with the client, and within three hours, my client would have this special permission to travel with very friendly and sympathetic service by the USCIS.

Now, if someone has an emergency need to travel for a dying family member, the family member will die before the client will ever get a chance to go there.

A person has to call the USCIS office and leave a message to get a call back to inquire about getting an appointment for the purpose of requesting a special travel permit. Then, many were told they had to first undergo Biometrics and they will be called soon about that. One client waited five days to get a call to go for Biometrics, when the mother was dying and needed the emergency travel permit that has been available for decades to the public with a pending case. Her mother died while waiting for this new punitive system to handle emergency travel requests.

It is very sad to report, trying to obtain a special emergency travel permit under the current procedures is highly problematic and overly strict, thwarting anyone to try to visit a dying parent or sibling.

If the USCIS can invite attorneys and their clients to interviews, and have them segregated and separated for social distancing, there is no reason why emergency travel cases cannot come in at 7:00 a.m. at a particular office and be processed. This is so inhumane the way legal immigration has been treated and has been thwarted.

With Florida's more strict rules about not providing allowing people to get drivers' licenses without first having received the work permit and Social Security number, many more people suffer.

An immediate evaluation and overhaul of the current USCIS practices is needed now and again after the Covid-19 crisis is completely over.

There is no reason why Infopass appointments cannot be re-established at least for attorneys on behalf of clients. It is unjust for the USCIS to be allowed to sit on files with no means to redress the inexcusable inactivity of the USCIS in many cases. It is inhumane for the USCIS to ignore attorneys' letters inquiring why a "slam dunk" case is being held up following an interview. There must be an attorneys'-supervisor communication system to rectify unjust activities and on unjust delays, or we must see USCIS reinstate the Infopass system for attorneys. It has worked before beautifully and should work again, but the USCIS cannot be ignoring the problems with legal immigration and spending all its time on the illegal immigration on the Texas border.

The undersigned finds that at the USCIS interviews, the Officers are very polite and professional, and provide quality services at the interviews. However, if the Officer fails to approve the case when they are supposed to and communications in writing via the internet and by U.S. mail are ignored, the attorney at the present time has no avenue to communicate with that USCIS Officer and the whole system fails. Right now, there are a lot of failures going on and many people are suffering.

When will Immigration USCIS and Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorcas wake up and pay attention to Legal Immigration? This consists of a large degree of high-quality people who have been vetted by the United States Government before they even came to our borders and are going through the legal system to live their dream to live in America. They face unreasonable delays never seen before. They deserve better.

The U.S. world of Immigration, legal Immigration, is being mistreated and needs immediate attention and help.


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Alex Barak

Florida licensed lawyer since 1981

Law Offices of Alex T. Barak, P.A.

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