Use this button to switch between dark and light mode.

DHS OIG: USCIS Faces Challenges Meeting Statutory Timelines and Reducing Its Backlog of Affirmative Asylum Claims

July 08, 2024 (1 min read)

DHS OIG, July 3, 2024

"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) did not adjudicate affirmative asylum applications in a timely manner to meet statutory timelines and to reduce its existing backlog. At the end of fiscal year 2023, USCIS had more than 1 million asylum cases pending determination. Of those, USCIS had more than 786,000 affirmative asylum cases pending determination for a period longer than 180 days from the date of filing. This occurred because USCIS did not have sufficient funding, staffing, and planning to complete its affirmative asylum caseload. USCIS received limited appropriated funding and primarily relied on application fees. However, in 2023, USCIS determined that its fee-funded revenue was not sufficient to support staffing needed to fully execute adjudication and naturalization services. This shortage forced USCIS to prioritize certain types of work over resolving its backlog of affirmative asylum cases and also resulted in USCIS setting performance goals at levels too low to timely adjudicate new claims within the statutory limits and address the existing affirmative asylum backlog. The rise in asylum claims without a corresponding increase in resources will continue to prevent USCIS from meeting statutory timelines and result in the continued growth of the backlog of affirmative asylum cases. If USCIS continues to not timely adjudicate asylum claims, eligible affirmative asylum applicants will be delayed in obtaining not only asylum, but also related immigration benefits, such as lawful permanent residency and citizenship. USCIS will likely experience increased litigation involving individuals challenging adjudication delays. This takes resources from USCIS’ production efforts as these litigation cases take precedence over new affirmative asylum claims and divert already limited resources from timely processing of current-year claims."