WASHINGTON – Today, USCIS unveiled its Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 progress report (PDF, 1.08 MB), showcasing significant accomplishments in backlog reduction, support for humanitarian missions, and fiscal responsibility. The report provides a comprehensive overview of USCIS initiatives, including efforts to strengthen fiscal stability, implement adjudicatory efficiencies, enact policy measures, and execute agency-wide backlog reduction strategies. Simultaneously, USCIS has sustained its commitment to meeting the exceptional demands of its humanitarian programs, upholding America's commitment as a nation of welcome and possibility.
USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou stated, “Every immigration case entrusted to us represents an individual or a family seeking to build a better life in the United States. We have made measurable progress towards building a more humane immigration system thanks to the innovation and dedication of the USCIS workforce. There is more work to do, especially to reduce processing times for all people we serve, and congressional support is critical to achieving our ambitious backlog reduction goals in the year ahead.”
The data in the report illustrates how successful backlog reduction and humanitarian services were facilitated by crucial appropriations from Congress in FY 2022. Moving forward, support from Congress for the agency's FY 2023 budget request will be pivotal in aiding humanitarian services and eliminating existing backlogs.
The report underscores the impact of furlough notices, a hiring freeze, and substantial cuts to contract staff during the COVID-19 pandemic on USCIS' ability to handle incoming applications. This emphasizes the necessity for USCIS to pursue an upcoming fee rule to prevent the accumulation of new backlogs in the future.
With vital fiscal support from Congress, USCIS restored fiscal stability and reversed the trend of backlog growth by intensifying hiring efforts and instating an agency-wide focus on operational efficiency. In FY 2022, in collaboration with the Department of State, the agency utilized over 281,000 employment-based visas, double the typical statutory annual allotment. This was made possible due to the surplus of family-sponsored visas remaining unused in FY 2021 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moreover, USCIS expanded its existing humanitarian mission and addressed emerging priorities for the U.S. government, including Operation Allies Welcome, Uniting for Ukraine, and the recently introduced Process for Venezuelans. The agency allocated resources effectively to fulfill humanitarian responsibilities, resulting in the issuance of over 92,000 work permits for Afghan nationals, benefits adjudication for Afghan resettlement, and the issuance of nearly 120,000 travel authorizations to Ukrainian nationals affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Looking ahead, the agency plans to build on this progress by implementing premium processing for all immigrant worker petitions (Form I-140) and certain employment authorization applications (Form I-765) for students and exchange visitors. Additionally, USCIS aims to establish a permanent biometrics exemption for all applicants for change of nonimmigrant status and extension of nonimmigrant stay (Form I-539), simplify various common forms, and advance the USCIS humanitarian mission through online filing and notices, new rulemakings, increased staffing, and enhanced public engagement.