America welcomes 900,000 immigrants America each year. The debate around bipartisan immigration reform opened up floodgates of emotion on the consequences about legalizing 11.7 million illegal immigrants in a structured way. The debate also exposed the agony faced by long delays in achieving US citizenship and the precious time wasted by the applicants because of human delay causing distress and anxiety.

When a Green Card is granted thousands of newly naturalized Americans heave a sigh of relief as a signal of escape from the frustrating, time-consuming process of becoming a citizen. For prospective citizens who would live and work in the United States by obtaining the “green card”, if it is a job-based one, he can expect maximum headaches.

Perhaps professionals in the technology sector are more prone to this costly, risky and tedious process of trying for permanent residency status.

Huge Costs

During the period the immigration lawyers charge the clients $4,000 to $8000 just accompany them for green card process. This is in addition to application fees.
Applicants have to wait for years with a feeling of lost opportunity and helplessness. There is complaint that it is incredibly hard to get information. There is no idea where you are in the process. The process looks opaque.

There is concern that by virtue of the tedious Immigration and Naturalization Service even a life time of the applicant gets lost. There is also an embargo in changing jobs and no mechanism to follow up exists to know where you are in the process. Such iron wall in any other government agency would have got people up in arms.

Stumbling Blocks

Part of the problem is a multipart employment-based application process with hurdles everywhere. In the first stage, labor certification is a must as the Labor Department has to certify whether the hiring of a foreign national will affect the conditions of U.S. professionals.

So employers are advised to implement a well-thought-out plan with long-term perspective to ensure approval of labour department. Even with the most careful preparation, delays are natural.

Backlog in INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service)

Green card cases take a long time mainly because of backlogs at the INS, according to Immigration Lawyers. They say the market moves much faster than the INS. Also the volatile economy can jeopardize any application. The person can either be laid off or passed up for promotions. This means an applicant has to start all over.

The INS is aware of their public perception but keeps saying that it is working on a solution. The Clinton administration tried to pitch in and ameliorate the backlogs by passing new legislation. But most attorneys agree the laws only made the situation worse.

Any green card recipient will have bittersweet feelings. At the end of the process the sense of freedom will be great. But at the same time, the freedom they took away is simply the worst part.