New bipartisan bill aims to provide transparency on immigration backlog & to eliminate it

  • Posted on March 4, 2020 | Updated on March 5, 2020 | 5 min read

The Case Backlog and Transparency Act of 2020 has been introduced in Congress with a general mandate of improving the quality and efficiency of government immigration services. Bill H.R. 5971 proposes regular and prescribed quarterly, annual, and biennial reports that would analyse factors contributing to the backlog and offer solutions on how to eliminate it, as well as provide fair and consistent adjudication.

Introduced in congress by Rep. Cardenas (D-CA) and Rep. Stivers (R-OH), bill H.R. 5971 doesn’t specifically address EB-5 but its enactment would certainly be big EB5 News celebrated by the industry and potential applicants.

Here are some highlights of the various regular reports the bill proposes:

Quarterly reports

  • published no later than 90s days after the end of the each of the first three fiscal quarters
  • published on the Department of Homeland Security’s website
  • provided to Committees on the Judiciary, Appropriations, and Oversight and Reform of the House of Representatives, and to the Committees on the Judiciary, Appropriations, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate
  • contain information on the backlog of immigration benefit applications, including EB5 Green Card applications
  • includes number of pending applications, and the backlog numbers
  • includes average processing times and any change in time compared with the previous quarter

Annual reports

  • published no later than 90 days after the end of each fiscal year
  • published on the Department of Homeland Security’s website
  • provided to Committees on the Judiciary, Appropriations, and Oversight and Reform of the House of Representatives, and to the Committees on the Judiciary, Appropriations, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • report details status of immigration services and infrastructure improvement, and the backlog in applications (including Green Card by investment applications)
  • includes factors contributing to the backlog, and impact of Department Policies on the backlog of I-526, I-829 and other applications
  • assessment of adherence to processes
  • plans to eliminate the backlog and prevent its reoccurrence
  • existing and planned quality controls to provide fair and consistent adjudications
  • data on Department funding: how much allocation came from fee accounts and appropriations, transfer of funds between Department components, estimate of appropriated funds necessary to eliminate the backlog
  • analysis of whether immigration questions from applicants or Department officials were answered effectively and efficiently
  • details changes of processing times in the two years prior to this annual report
  • processing goals for each application type
  • state-by-state data including number of adjustment of status applications, and the overall number of immigration benefit applications, pending for up to 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, 36 months, and 48 months or more
  • number of immigration applications received and processed (including EB 5 immigration)
  • approval and denial rates

Biennial reports

  • published on website
  • submitted to Committees on the Judiciary, Appropriations, and Oversight and Reform of the House of Representatives, and to the Committees on the Judiciary, Appropriations, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate,
  • concerns immigration backlog
  • cites status of backlog and number of pending immigration applications
  • analysis of contributing factors to backlog and the impact of Department policies
  • assessment of planned efforts to eliminate the backlog
  • assessment of existing and planned efforts to ensure Department’s fair and consistent adjudication
  • recommendations for more efficient immigration application processing while maintaining fairness and consistency

See bill H.R. 5971

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