United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a US Federal agency responsible for managing the immigration process for individuals seeking to live and work in the United States. USCIS handles family unification petitions, manages economic growth and opportunity programs for U.S. companies, administers humanitarian protection programs, and is generally charged with ensuring the integrity of the immigration system.
USCIS also grants lawful permanent residence and other immigration benefits to thousands of applicants and also denies many applications on a daily basis. Overall, the agency is in charge of an increasing larger amount of immigration processes on a national scale.
On January 27, 2023, The agency published its “Strategic Plan” for fiscal years (FY) 2023-26. The plan leaves many questions about the US immigration system unanswered. However, here are some highlights of the agency’s plans for 2023-26.
Read the entire publication at the link at the end of this article.
USCIS intends to improve access to immigration benefits
The USCIS aims to improve access to immigration benefits and strengthen the asylum system while supporting the resettlement of refugees. USCIS will review regulations and policy documents to identify and remove barriers for those seeking lawful immigration benefits and issue policies that restore and strengthen family and employment-based immigration systems. They will also ensure that regulations and policies do not impede operational efficiency or future innovation and will be clear and easy to understand with opportunities for public engagement and input. On an average day, USCIS receives 55,000 phone calls and 150,000 inquiries and service requests via online accounts and digital self-help tools. They also aim to develop systems to modernize the immigration system.
USCIS aims to promote access and equity in filing processes
USCIS aims to promote access and equity in filing processes by conducting assessments of all forms used to apply for immigration benefits, with a goal of eliminating unnecessary, redundant questions and reducing the complexity of forms. USCIS will increase access to e-filing of forms while maintaining the availability of paper forms. It will also strengthen communication through additional community partnerships and communication channels and by evaluating ways to enhance USCIS’ communication resources to increase public awareness about how to apply for immigration benefits.
This change, if implemented, would be welcome. Filing of immigration cases with USCIS comes with filling out the same information on multiple forms, and therefore eliminating redundant questions would reduce complexity.
USCIS plans to develop a new E-Verify system
USCIS plans to develop a new E-Verify system, called “Next Generation,” using human-centered design to improve the employee verification process. The new system will reduce data duplication and provide employees with greater control over their employment verification process. The goal is to integrate the E-Verify and Form I-9 experiences and streamline the verification process. The agency plans to generate evidence to determine the return-on-investment value of the new system and improve system access and ease of use for both employees and employers.
USCIS aims to reduce the pending caseload and processing times
USCIS aims to reduce the pending caseload and processing times, increase staff, and leverage technology to improve efficiencies and reduce the backlog. They plan to use technology to transform business processes, including transitioning to full electronic case processing and implementing more efficient and effective video teleconferencing interview processes in hope that the improvements will increase efficiency, strengthen security, and reduce human error during the adjudication process.
Additional information about USCIS’s strategic planning for 2023-2026 can be accessed below:
USCIS Strategic Goals and Objectives, Fiscal Years 2023-2026
Goal 1 – Strengthen the U.S. Legal Immigration System
Objective 1.1 Access to the Legal Immigration System
Objective 1.2 Fair, Efficient, and Humane Adjudication
Objective 1.3 Naturalization Promotion and Process Improvement
Objective 1.4 Security and Integrity in the Legal Immigration System
Goal 2 – Invest in Our Workforce
Objective 2.1 Attract, Recruit, Train, and Retain Employees
Objective 2.2 Future of Work
Objective 2.3 Leadership and Employee Empowerment
Objective 2.4 A Culture of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility
Goal 3 – Promote Effective and Efficient Management and Stewardship
Objective 3.1 Financial Management
Objective 3.2 Human Resources Capacity and Processes
Objective 3.3 Quality Data and IT System Management
Objective 3.4 Program Performance Evaluation and Evidence Building
Full publication accessible below: