Report: ‘U.S. Immigration System is Buckling Under Its Own Weight’

Backlogs in immigration applications are undermining the integrity of the system, according to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI).

Immigration court backlogs now top 1.6 million cases, up from 1.1 million before the COVID pandemic, and more than double the caseload in fiscal year 2018. At U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) pending applications for green cards and work permits have surged from 5.7 million to 9.5 million.

Exacerbated by the Biden administration’s loose to non-existent enforcement at the southern border, the backups are “creating a magnet for those who may not be eligible for asylum yet apply for protection knowing resolution of their case may be years off,” MPI stated.

The situation does not please the Institute’s immigration enthusiasts, who note that, “Beyond harming the effectiveness of the immigration system, the backlogs have the potential to dull the impact of the Biden administration’s immigration ambitions.” (We can only hope.)

Unfazed, and heading in the wrong direction, a group of Senate Democrats this week introduced legislation to make even more green cards available. That, of course, will do nothing to reduce the backlog at USCIS. At least with Biden’s unpopular policies dragging his party down, the Capitol Hill gambit is going nowhere as Democrats face big losses in congressional elections this fall.

In his State of the Union address, the president vowed to trim the U.S. deficit by $1 trillion this year. Here again, his open-border policies get in the way. By FAIR’s 2017 estimate, illegal migration costs federal, state and local governments $116 billion annually. That figure is rising fast as hundreds of thousands more migrants were released into the U.S. during Biden’s first year in office.

Amid the backups clogging federal agencies, MPI reports that USCIS and the State Department have been hit by a succession of lawsuits for delays. The Institute notes that “substantial resources” will be required, which will further deepen the deficit.

So Biden’s lofty rhetoric has slammed into a wall of reality. It’s a collision that damages the credibility of his administration and the security of this nation. And don’t just take our word for it.

“Whatever the solutions, it is clear that the immigration system is buckling under its own weight,” MPI laments.

About Author


Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

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