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The Ombudsman's Annual Report to Congress

"Good government is grounded in a steadfast commitment to efficiency, transparency, and accountability….As an office of last resort, the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman…work[s] arduously to ensure that individuals applying for an immigration benefit can experience government at its best. We are problem solvers, focused on assisting one case at a time and delivering policy recommendations…to improve efficiency and fairness in the administration of immigration benefits.“ Maria M. Odom message to congress on June 27, 2013.

Annual Report 2013

By statute, the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman submits an Annual Report to Congress by June 30 of each year. The Ombudsman’s Annual Report must provide a summary of the most pervasive and serious problems encountered by individuals and employers applying for immigration benefits with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Annual Report also reviews past recommendations to improve USCIS programs and services.

Annual Report Highlights

  • Employment Authorization for Vulnerable Populations. Concerns regarding employment authorization for certain Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioners, their derivatives, and U visa beneficiaries, as well as limitations on the ability to nonimmigrant victims to obtain work authorization.
  • Unaccompanied Children. USCIS’s new policy to accept unaccompanied alien children (UAC) determinations made for custody purposes by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Custom Enforcement. The guidance follows the Ombudsman’s 2013 recommendation (PDF, 16 pages – 281.88KB) in this area and promises a consistent process for all children apprehended at the border who later see asylum in removal proceedings.
  • Discretionary Relief and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. A review of discretionary relief and USCIS’s successful implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
  • Provisional Waivers. Centralized of inadmissibility waiver filings, the subject of Ombudsman recommendations in 2010, and the new Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver Process are measures that promise to improve consistency and minimize delays for thousands of individuals and their families.
  • The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Stakeholders continued to raise concerns, and approximately 10 percent of cases received by the Ombudsman pertained to EB-5 cases. During the reporting period, USCIS issued EB-5 program policy memoranda, and the most recent guidance addresses many longstanding stakeholder concerns.

Complete Annual Reports and Executive Summaries

If you have difficulties accessing a file or need assistance, please contact the Ombudsmans.

Prior Annual Reports

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CIS Ombudsman Home Page

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