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Following CHC Request, GAO Agrees to Open Investigation into Record-Breaking Immigration Case Backlog at USCIS

May 31, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON— Today, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) agreed to open an investigation into the backlog of immigration cases of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) following a request from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and House Democrats to ensure that the agency was fulfilling its mandate and ensure good governance. The request was led by Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and signed by over 80 other House Democrats.

“The backlog, which currently stands at over 2.3 million cases, is yet another attempt by this Administration to close the door on immigrants,” said Chairman Castro. “My colleagues in the Hispanic Caucus and I look forward to reviewing GAO’s findings. We must ensure that USCIS is meeting its Congressional mandate and is adjudicating cases in a timely manner. CHC Members will continue working to end every aspect of President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda.”

The full text of the letter from the GAO is below and here.

Congressional Requesters

Thank you for your letter, jointly signed by a number of your colleagues, requesting that the Government Accountability Office review several issues regarding the current backlog of immigration cases managed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

GAO accepts your request as work that is within the scope of its authority. At the current time we anticipate that staff with the required skills will be available to initiate an engagement in about five months. Your request has been assigned to Mr. Charles M. Johnson, Jr., Managing Director, Homeland Security and Justice. Closer to the time GAO can start this engagement,  Mr. Johnson or a member of his team will contact Ms. Kaitlyn Montan and points of contact from the other requester offices, as appropriate, to confirm that this request continues to be your priority for us. As applicable, we will also be in contact with the cognizant Inspector General's office to ensure that we are not duplicating efforts. If an issue arises during this coordination, we will consult with you regarding its resolution.  

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Johnson at 202-512-7331 or johnsoncm@gao.gov, or Mr. Chuck Wilson, Assistant Director, Congressional Relations, on my staff at 202-512-6891 or WilsonCE@gao.gov.

Sincerely yours,

Orice Williams Brown

Managing Director Congressional Relations

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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.