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Report: Goal To Process Green Card Applications In Four Months Is 'Unrealistic'

A new report by a government oversight agency says immigration officials have failed for years to meet the 120-day goal for processing applications to become a lawful permanent resident.

Wait times at field offices in Tucson and Phoenix are at least eight months, and as high as roughly 23 months, according to online information from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS.

The report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General said processing times posted on the USCIS website are unclear “because it does not reflect the actual amount of time it takes field offices, on average, to complete green card applications."

Green card holder is a common way to refer to someone who's a lawful permanent resident.

The DHS-OIG report said the current 120-day processing goal is unrealistic for different reasons, including the need to interview most green card applicants.

USCIS has spent millions of dollars on overtime, and sent applications to other field offices with more staff, according to the report. But processing times have continued to rise.

USCIS responded in the report that the agency is currently testing a new way to post more up to date information. It’s also studying internal data, and may eventually set a new goal for processing times of green card applications.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.