USCIS calls it First Ten Areas of Focus for Agency-wide Policy Review, and I renamed it to the Top-10 Issues List.
This is a list USCIS compiled after conducting a survey three months ago asking your input on the areas that USCIS should review their policies and make changes first. It was an important study, and we called for actions in our community forum. Hopefully you had a chance to voice your opinion at that time.
After “nearly 5,600 stakeholders responded to the survey, representing current immigrant and non-immigrant visa holders, employers, immigration attorneys and advocates, among others, in addition to responses from approximately 2,400 members of the USCIS workforce,” the Top-10 list is quite extensive and other than a couple items, I think it hit the nail on the head:
- National Customer Service Center
- Nonimmigrant H-1B (specialty occupations)
- Naturalization and Citizenship
- Employment-Based Adjustment of Status
- Family-Based Adjustment of Status
- Employment-Based Immigrants Preference Categories 1, 2 (priority workers, professionals and holders of advanced degrees) and 3 (skilled workers and professionals)
- Refugee and Asylum Adjustment of Status
- Form I-601 (Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility)
- General Humanitarian Programs
- Employment Authorization and Travel Documents
I would say that EAD and AP could have been a little higher on the list, and B-2 visitor visa should have been included given the massive number of people its policy affects. Nonetheless, this is good list to start.
What comes next is as dissappointing as usual. According to the official announcement,
The USCIS Policy Review is a comprehensive, multi-year effort with four stages.
The word “multi-year effort” reminds me, and many others I’m sure, the typical government way of doing business. There will be meetings after meetings, reviews after reviews, and reports after reports. And in the end, we don’t even know what they are working on any more.
Come on! Have your “working groups” sit down and talk about one issue at a time. Give each member one week to read/review the policies and bring up their own suggestions. Give them another week to convene, one more week to test their ideas, and yet another week to tweak them. So a total of one month per issue, not enough? No one is expecting them to fix everything, just hit the big ones. There may be 100 items that can be improved over USCIS customer service; just fix the top 3, which should address 80% of complaints if not more.
Maybe I’ve made it sound too easy. But if you know there are issues, how do you justify a “multi-year effort” to address them? Should your paying customers continue to suffer while you spend “years” reviewing them?
Don’t get me wrong. I like the list, and I like the fact that USCIS is willing to work on it after soliciting input from immigrants. But sometimes, “do something” is more important than trying to do everything, which often ends up being nothing.
Update 7/27/10: USCIS Survey Report