Summary of Interview with David Bier by the Federal News Network
In an interview with David Bier, Cato Institute’s associate director of immigration studies, Federal Drive’s Tom Temin learned that the number of immigration forms has increased about five times since the formation of the USCIS and now stands at 701 pages of forms – up from 193 in 2003. The average form size has increased from about three pages to about 10. According to Bier, most of the forms are paper forms and the forms that can be found online are cumbersome and not user friendly. Attorneys are finding that it is usually easier to print out the finished forms and mail them than try to submit them online. Paper forms then slow down the process on the receiving end.
It is interesting that most of the revised and/or new forms are not the result of new immigration legislation, according to Bier, but the result of discretionary decisions made by the USCIS to ask for new or different information.
The system gets bogged down on both ends – both by the shear numbers of people trying to enter the country and the increasing backlog and processing time of paperwork through the Department of Justice and the USCIS. An example is a US citizen or a legal permanent resident who wants to bring a spouse into the US. The form used to be two pages and now it is 18. This is not an example of efficiency. And for all of the new information that is thought to be needed, there has been no significant change in the denial rate. So what is the information being used for? Bier says that it is just the Agency trying to use its authority in new ways.