Before you read anything negative into that headline, understand that I am presenting it as a POSITIVE thing: despite the workload they are facing, EB-5 adjudicators are still doing their best to be responsive to investors with pending petitions. Consider this “food for thought” regarding what adjudicators face daily, and how we, as immigration attorneys, can be a little more thoughtful when we send inquiries.
On August 20, 2018, LatourLaw sent an inquiry regarding a pending client petition. Yesterday, on April Fool’s Day, we received a response. While it took USCIS 7 months to respond in writing, the fact is that their office had resolved the particular issue shortly after our inquiry last summer. They fixed it right away, and we received the correction…it just took them 7 months to reply to our written inquiry!
The inquiry in question was a bit complicated and it took both written inquiries and phone calls to get it resolved. In other words, this particular issue made it NECESSARY for us to ask the same question multiple times to finally get it resolved. No doubt that yesterday’s email from USCIS was the result of these multiple inquiries in their system. Even though it had long ago been resolved, some USCIS officer had to read the inquiry, look it up, and respond.
As a former visa officer, I am very sensitive to the subject of status inquiries because I have seen it abused so many ways by immigration attorneys. Sometimes, an overbearing attorney would be sending multiple inquiries days apart for a visa case which was in process and not even close to scheduling for the visa interview. Oftentimes, in our frustration with EB-5 delays, we will make repeated inquiries on the same matter OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. That isn’t productive for anyone! Not only is it a waste of time for the attorney (in making repeated inquiries before USCIS has time to respond) and for USCIS, but it bogs down their ability to respond. There are times when multiple contacts with USCIS is unavoidable to resolve an issue, as was the case which led to our “April Fools” letter yesterday. But those are few and far between. Adding repetitive and unnecessary tasks to an already understaffed EB-5 unit hurts everyone.