According to CIS Ombudsman Phyllis Coven, there are presently close to 5.2 million cases in the backlog with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, with an additional 8.5 million applications still outstanding. In comparison to the sufficiently smaller number of 2.7 million, which was in backlog during July 2019, the numbers are increasingly growing. The backlog being at an all-time high right now is a result of the absence of a digital filing option and the agency’s continuous dependence on paper-based procedures. According to Coven, the USCIS’s fifteen-year-old initiative to increase online filing and electronic processing is about to reach a turning point.
As backlogs are the primary priority of USCIS, there are many impacts beyond only the time loss that need to be addressed. Consumers might expedite and advance parole requests, which balloon due to backlogs. In order to inspire the agency to make more daring moves, certain necessary solutions were considered, including the incorporation of digital tools. Some other specific steps being taken in order to bring the citizenship backlog down from its all-time high include hiring more employees. Precisely, by the end of this year, USCIS hopes to have hired over 4,000 new employees to resolve and lessen this backlog. For the fiscal year 2023, they have also set new, more ambitious “cycle time” objectives.