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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

News 24 Houston | 24 Hour Local News | HEADLINES | Immigration Services backlogged as thousands wait for Green Cards

News 24 Houston | 24 Hour Local News | HEADLINES | Immigration Services backlogged as thousands wait for Green Cards

www.news24houston.com


Immigration Services backlogged as thousands wait for Green Cards
Updated: 6/16/2004 3:13:43 PM
By: News 24 Houston


On the net



www.nguyenlaw.com
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services




Statistics show that Houston has close to 50,000 immigrants waiting for a Green Card.

And Houston has one of the longest waiting periods in the country.

An upcoming federal deadline set to shorten the waiting period to six months or less by the year 2006 has Immigration Services backlogged.

"I think it's a combination of factors [making the process so slow] -- the number of applicants, of course, increases every year, and congressional mandates require resources of the Immigration Services to be allocated to different sectors to basically comply with congressional requirements. So it's just a combination of things that causes a backlog within an agency that's already under-staffed and, perhaps, under-budgeted, also," said Immigration Attorney Quynh Nguyen.

Meanwhile, a new task force has been assigned to some of the older cases.

"So far, we're seeing some improvements on older cases being called up for interviews -- cases that should have been interviewed long before. These are cases filed even before 2001. I am seeing that with clients, and that's a good sign," said Nguyen. "I think what we'd like to see is for our clients interests and benefits to be heard. And this backlog has the potential to hurt our clients or applicants, and, of course, their families. We're talking about American citizens who are married or who are the parents of the children of immigrants."

She says the more informed applicants are, the better.

"U.S. Immigration Services has an excellent website, so do other agencies, and they provide resources that applicants can review over the Internet. Or, applicants can consult with attorneys and other immigration legal experts," said Nguyen.

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