Department of State is forcing Indian immigrants to lie on their immigration forms. (2)

SAM PEAK who has been doing some excellent coverage around immigration issues has the following article that describes the dysfunctional visa system that is hurting million plus legal immigrants most of which are Indians.

USCIS/DoS are complete oblivious to the human cost of this problem.

As Singh continues to wait for his green card, his temporary status requires him to get his visa renewed at a consular office in India before he can return home from traveling abroad. Confusingly, this is a separate process from him extending his ability to stay from inside the United States, which involves different documents and doesn’t require stopping at a consulate.

The requirement of getting your visa reissued from abroad has long been a time-consuming inconvenience for immigrants. But as with so much else, COVID-19 has made things worse: With consular offices still at reduced capacity two years into the pandemic, this rule turned this mere bureaucratic headache into a measure that forced countless workers and students to choose between their obligations in the United States and those back in their home country.

Singh’s sister was hospitalized with COVID-19 during India’s surge in the summer of 2021. With no ambulance service available and nobody present to drive her, she had to call a cab to take herself to the medical facility that was an hour and a half away. Because her husband was also hospitalized, the kids were being cared for by their grandmother. “I wanted to help them when they were sick,” Singh said. “I worried that they would die, and I wouldn’t be able to see them.”

Singh quickly discovered that drop box appointments were scarce. When he attempted to schedule an appointment to visit his ill sister, he noted that the State Department rarely had open appointment slots. And when it did, the website would often stop working. Another similarly situated immigrant—Mr. Bhatt, a product manager at a major tech firm—had the same complaints. “It [the website] was a nightmare,” he told me. “If you try to access the website more than four times in one day, your account gets locked for 72 hours.” Sometimes when an applicant tries to book an open appointment, the website “errors out,” and additional attempts to book the appointment count against the applicants’ login limit. Bhatt was locked out at least three times.

Overall, it took Bhatt two and a half months to land an appointment. Bhatt originally sought to visit India in October, to celebrate Diwali with his family. When that didn’t work, he unsuccessfully tried to land an appointment to visit during Christmas and New Year’s. Bhatt was also needed to care for his father after his eye surgery, which ended up being postponed until Bhatt could schedule a drop box appointment.

Read the entire article here.


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