Green Cards Set to Disappear as Agency Explores Salvage Options

  • Agency hasn’t yet processed full amount available
  • Officials exploring options to preserve, issue approvals

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Tens of thousands of employment-based green cards appeared set to go to waste Thursday, though U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says it’s still exploring options to save them.

The agency projects it will process 164,000 immigration status adjustment applications before fiscal 2022 begins Friday. That’s short of the full amount available, though USCIS declined to provide a specific number of green cards that would go unused. The agency indicated it would be less than the 80,000 green cards previously estimated.

“The agency is reviewing all policies, operational procedures and options under the law that would allow for available green cards to either be issued before the end of the fiscal year or carried over into FY2022,” spokesman Matthew Bourke said in an emailed statement.

The Biden administration has struggled to streamline legal immigration processing, in part because Trump-era policies and the Covid-19 pandemic strained the cash-strapped agency.

Green Cards Set to Go to Waste as Delays Persist, U.S. Concedes

More than 100 Indian and Chinese applicants sued USCIS earlier this year, seeking to force the agency to issue green cards or roll them over. Their effort fell short when a federal judge on Wednesday ruled that their case belonged in a different district.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen M. Gilmer in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Babbage at

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