Last week, a group of immigrants filed a federal class action lawsuit against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), challenging bureaucratic delays that have left them in a limbo.  

The lawsuit seeks to hold the president Biden Administration accountable for the increasing delays in processing unlawful presence waivers, which are a necessary step to become a Lawful Permanent Resident. Until these waivers are decided, plaintiffs—who are spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents—cannot work lawfully and remain subject to removal from the US. 

USCIS has already approved the immigrant petitions for the plaintiffs (who, as mentioned are spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents) but they cannot move forward until USCIS processes the waiver applications filed at least 12 months ago. USCIS previously decided these applications in under five months.

If plaintiffs leave the United States before USCIS approves their waiver application, they could be separated from their families for years. Moreover, while a decision from USCIS is pending, plaintiffs cannot work lawfully and have no protection against being removed from the United States. It is, therefore, a very uncertain situation.

Many families in the United States live in a limbo when these processing delays prevent one family member from becoming a lawful permanent resident and, therefore, this lawsuit was recently filed against USCIS.

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