Obtaining a green card is an important milestone for many immigrants as it indicates legal permanent residency and a path to U.S. citizenship if they so desire. When your application for a green card is approved, you should be able to expect that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will deliver your card in timely manner so that you can prove your residency status. Unfortunately, many individuals who had been expecting green cards to arrive have been disappointed over the past few years as their green cards may have made it into the wrong hands after errors by USCIS.
In 2012, USCIS implemented a new automated system called the Electronic Immigration System (ELIS). Though ELIS was delayed by several years and went about $2.5 billion over budget, when finally put into use, the system was expected to largely reduce the number of errors made in processing green cards, visas, and other benefits for immigrants. However, a recent report based on an audit by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has found serious problems in the past couple of years regarding green cards.
Specifically, the report indicates that “potentially hundreds” of green cards have been sent to the incorrect addresses. Wrong addresses on the mailings were blamed on two different issues with ELIS:
- The system often cut off parts of addresses, including apartment numbers, that were essential to the mail getting to the right place; and
- When a permanent resident updated their address with USCIS, the system would not allow employees to go in and change the address, so the mail went to the old residence.
These issues resulted in hundreds — if not more–of permanent residents failing to receive their green cards. In addition, those green cards may have made it into the hands of individuals who would use or sell them as false identification and having your green card used by someone else can potentially result in serious complications down the line. For example, if a person committed a crime and presented a green card with your name on it, your own immigration status may be at risk until the issue is figured out with USCIS.
To try to solve the problem, USCIS sent notices to the incorrect addresses and requested that the individuals send the green cards back to the agency. It was not a surprise that this method did not work, as the majority of green cards were still unaccounted for. This is only one example of how an immigration case can be complicated and confusing.
Consult With An Experienced Green Card Attorney As Soon As Possible
Even if you meet all the requirements to obtain a green card, you still may encounter serious complications during the immigration process. USCIS can make errors in processing or wrongfully denying applications and it is often challenging to know how to approach an appeal of your issue. Being able to prove your permanent residency is imperative to protect your rights, at we at the Law Offices of Alex T. Barak will help you do so. Please call an experienced Hollywood, Florida green card lawyer at (954) 399-7778 today.