USCIS Releases New Strategic Plan for Long-Term Goals

On January 23, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency (USCIS) released a new long-term strategic plan outlining a three-year roadmap aimed at boosting the entire agency’s efficiency and efficacy. While two of the plan’s three main goals focus on beefing up much-needed staffing, technology, and workflow improvements in multiple areas, it’s the larger primary goal of strengthening the immigration system as a whole that’s the most newsworthy.

Improving Access to the Legal Immigration System

On an average day, the USCIS receives over 55,000 toll-free phone calls, and over 150,000 inquiries from online sources. By modernizing the primary access system, USCIS hopes to increase access to e-filing forms, establish secure online accounts for applicants to stay informed and connected to their cases, as well as improve the E-verify and Form I-9 experience and verification process. Ultimately, a revamped “E-Verify Next Gen” will integrate E-Verify and Form I-9 to further streamline the verification process.

Ensuring Fair, Efficient and Humane Adjudication

On average, USCIS adjudicates over 32,500 requests for a myriad of immigration benefits, processes 3,700 applications to sponsor relatives and future spouses, and serves 800 people via in-person appointments for more pressing needs. By increasing staff and leveraging technology like video teleconferencing to modernize business processes, USCIS hopes to reduce the net pending caseload and processing times to more reasonable and sustainable levels.

Additionally, USCIS plans to continue supporting U.S. refugee and asylum initiatives including Temporary Protected Status, T and U visa, the Violence Against Women Act, deferred action and parole.

Naturalization Promotion, Partnership Building and Process Improvement

As chair of the Interagency Naturalization Working Group, USCIS aims to continue the whole-of-government approach to removing unnecessary barriers to U.S. citizenship. By proactively identifying undue barriers and addressing outdated policy, USCIS expects to dramatically decrease some of the roadblocks and increase the number of successfully naturalized citizens. This includes consulting with the Department of Defense to develop a video interview solution that reduces travel and increases efficiency when processing military applicants.

Security and Integrity in the Legal Immigration System

USCIS fingerprints and photographs on average about 10,000 people daily across its 131 support centers. To reduce the amount of fraud and potential national security threats, USCIS plans to improve the criteria, documentation, data access and inter-agency coordination employed throughout the process.

This process includes redesigning documents, secure forms and naturalization certificates with enhanced security features to reduce fraud and counterfeit documentation. USCIS is also working on an improved process with the Department of Homeland Security to increase the quality of coordination and expedite information sharing.

For more detailed information about the agency’s roadmap and targeted goals, read the full announcement here.

At Messner Reeves, our attorneys are equipped to handle a variety of immigration situations and can help you navigate changing immigration regulations, processes and policies. Contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our expert attorneys.

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