Electronic Filing of USCIS Applications and Petitioner

May 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

USCIS recently met with with stakeholders to discuss the possibility of transitioning into a mandatory electronic filing system for all immigration case processing. Read the May 23, 2011 Executive Summary published by USCIS here. Many stakeholders have been supporting the movement toward electronic filing for years. Paper-based filing is cumbersome, costly and less efficient. Going to electronic filing is inevitable, although as I see it the biggest concerns are the potential costs, the logistical planning and implementation of the system once it’s pushed out. For certain disfranchised groups such as the elderly and the low-income, moving away from paper-based system can be a daunting reality. However, just as the government has already made e-filing an option now for certain benefit-based applications, e.g. I-131 Application for Travel Document and others, why couldn’t we make this an option for as many petitions and applications as possible in the meantime while leaving in place the option of paper-based filing for those who wish to do so? Seems to make sense to me while the rest of the world catches up to the electronic age and eventually moves away from paper altogether. It seems to me that we just need to start the process already and then figure things out as we go along without hopefully losing valuable information in the meantime. I am certainly not an IT guru but it’s hard to believe that a project like this would truly be that difficult to implement. If technology and resources are not the real issues – after all, USCIS filing fees are higher all the time so couldn’t we put that money to a good use like making e-filing an universal option – then what are we waiting for?

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