As undocumented immigrants continue to seek the chance to obtain legal status in the United States under President Obama’s executive action, the waiting list for those trying to legally enter the country has grown longer – as has the time they have to spend in the pipeline.
US citizen Jimmy Gugliotta is currently living in Santiago in Chile and has been waiting more than 18 months for US visas to allow him to bring his wife, who is from Argentina, and their children into the country. Gugliotta is particularly bewildered that he and his family have been waiting longer in the visa process than many undocumented immigrants who entered the United States illegally.
There are presently as many as 4.4 million immigrants waiting to obtain visas that will allow them to come to the US, which is a rise of 100,000 since 2014. Some of these have been waiting for over 15 years and even the children and spouses of US citizens, who are supposed to be given priority, have seen the standard waiting time rise from two months to as long as 18 months. This is because the administration has been trying to cope with the influx of undocumented immigrants who have been granted legal status by the president.
Applications have to initially be processed by US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is now trying to deal with over 2,000 applications for work permits and green cards per day as the result of Obama’s announcement last November.