On January 24, 2018, the American Immigration Lawyers Association attended the quarterly VOLAG meeting with the Field Office Director and Supervisors of the Newark US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The meeting was attended by Lloyd Bennett, Esq.—former NJ America Immigration Lawyers Association Chapter Chair—together with other interested immigration lawyers. USCIS is tasked with overseeing lawful immigration to the U.S. The Newark field office processes many of the cases filed by individuals in Northern NJ.
The topics covered during the meeting were especially important considering the administration’s continued goal of increasing enforcement. Under the Obama administration, the agency was able to exercise discretion in many cases that came before them. Today, that discretion is gone and the bar has been lowered. This causes additional delays, security checks, and a higher level of scrutiny for all applications.
The immigration lawyers in attendance voiced concerns about extended delays and the impact these delays have on our clients, their families, and their employment. The supervisors were understanding but are following their mandate. At this meeting, the lawyers discussed the termination of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for Haitians and El Salvadorians as well as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewals despite the President’s declaration that the program would be terminated. The service also discussed extended delays in the issuance of Employment Authorization Documents, interviews, and info pass appointments.
On a typical day, USCIS adjudicates more than 26,000 applications, grants lawful permanent residency to more than 2,100 people and naturalizes more than 2,000 people. The immigration lawyers in attendance appreciate the continued open line of communication, as it provides valuable information to help us continue to successfully represent our clients.