Reinforce Quality and Consistency in Administering Immigration Benefits
In FY 2012, USCIS:
- Developed and implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process to grant deferred action to certain young people who came to the United States as children.
- Launched the first phase of USCIS ELIS, our inaugural electronic immigration system. A major milestone toward the future of immigration services, USCIS ELIS enables individuals to establish accounts and apply online to extend or change their nonimmigrant status for certain visa types.
- Implemented the Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) initiative, which harnesses public- and private-sector expertise to strengthen policies and practices relating to immigrant entrepreneurship.
- Developed and refined a final rule to reduce, under certain circumstances, the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who are in the process of obtaining visas to become lawful permanent residents. The rule will allow certain individuals to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver before departing the United States to attend immigrant visa interviews in their countries of origin.
- Welcomed 762,742 new American citizens; 1,022,603 new permanent residents; 58,238 resettled refugees and 25,538 individuals granted asylum.
- Facilitated the international adoption of 6,302 children from abroad.
- Reached the statutory annual cap of 65,000 H-1B petitions, which U.S. businesses use to employ foreign workers with expertise in specialized fields such as science, engineering and computer technology.
- Approved for the third straight year the maximum 10,000 petitions for U nonimmigrant status, which is set aside for crime victims who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.
- Identified, in consultation with the Department of State, 58 countries that are eligible to take part in H-2A and H-2B programs for temporary workers.
- Processed more than 85 percent (a 70-percent increase from 2008) of incoming fee-bearing forms through a centralized network of USCIS Lockbox facilities.
- Addressed world events by:
- Allowing eligible Syrian nationals in the United States to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
- Designating the new nation of South Sudan for TPS.
- Announcing 18-month TPS extensions for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia and Sudan.
- Conducting refugee interviews in more than 60 countries.
- Through a binding Administrative Appeals Office precedent-setting decision, broadened the definition of “culturally unique” regarding visas for performing artists.