One of the complaints that immigrants and their lawyers had about the legal immigration system when President Obama was elected was that despite paying extraordinarily high user fees to file immigration related petitions and applications, the agencies in question took their sweet time processing and adjudicating these. In response, the Obama administration mandated that all petitions and applications be adjudicated by the government within six months. By the end of his first term, all but the most complicated or troublesome filings were in fact adjudicated within that time frame.
The Trump administration appears to have different marching orders. “Extreme vetting” appears to be the new normal. The problem with this is that vetting in the context of legal immigration has always been extreme. From a national security point of view, there is very little room for improvement. Apparently, the great leader’s animosity towards foreigners generally and immigrants particularly, translates to more concern with limiting immigration than national security. In keeping with the wishes of the new President, the USCIS and the US Consulates have adopted the catch all phrase “Administrative Review” as a cover for what can only be explained as deliberate delays in processing approvable cases.
Administrative review was not a phrase that was used during the Obama administration except to denote a case that was borderline deniable. Now, it is used in nearly every case, as if to deliberately slow down the process of approval. As a result, an immigrant who traveled to San Salvador for what was to have been a routine three-week consular processing of his immigrant visa, has been waiting for more than three months while his case undergoes “administrative review.” In that time, he has lost his job, his wife and children are living on a “maxed-out” credit card and their mortgage is overdue.
The government agencies involved in the unconscionable administrative slow down should be held liable for what can only be understood as tortious and malicious acts. They should be held to account for the unnecessary damage they are causing in the lives of these well vetted immigrants. The bar for effective and efficient visa processing has been set by people who believed in government. The current administration is deliberately falling short of that mark.