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Many report delays in getting green cards for family members

As readers of our Greensboro immigration blog can attest, many processes for obtaining legal status can be long and fraught with adversity. Adding to the uncertainty many people feel is the limited capacity of the government to take steps to accelerate the process. And when other priorities suddenly make less complicated services more difficult to obtain, the situation can be practically maddening.

Many U.S. citizens have been experiencing this situation in recent months. Back in 2012, the Obama administration began increasing the focus on a program that aims to push back deportation proceedings for young undocumented immigrants who were brought here by their families when they were children. The program has given a boost to many young people who have lived in the U.S. for most of their lives but were otherwise powerless to remain here if they ended up in line to be deported.

The government agency that handles these kinds of cases, Citizenship and Immigration Services, has been putting so much emphasis on them that other cases have become backlogged. In particular, U.S. citizens have experienced long delays in getting green cards for their immediate family members. The process used to take five months or so, but it is now common for it to take twice that time, or even longer.

This has put a real burden on folks who expected their family immigration cases to go much faster. Family members who expected to spend Christmas together instead had to gather in front of a computer to see one another. It isn't clear when the backlog will be resolved, but in the meantime, families might consider working with an immigration attorney to best position themselves to get assistance.

Source: The New York Times, "Program Benefiting Some Immigrants Extends Visa Wait for Others," Julia Preston, Feb. 8, 2014

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