- too good. I’d say burn it to the ground, sow the lot with salt and then sing barbershop tunes in the ruins. Not that I’m bitter…
FTR, I just entered the U S on a K-1 (fiance) visa and is preparing for round 2, i.e. getting enough paperwork done that I can actually LIVE in the US (work permit, primarily. I’d like to put my skills to good use and pay taxes. One would think that this would be encouraged.).
IMHO, a place to begin would be to split the office people actually in the business of making the decisions and the uniformed people running after suspected perpetrators at the borders into two separate organizations. Two different mindsets are needed for those two tasks. I’d probably argue that the uniformed function could be handled by customs and police, anyway.
Perhaps break up into even smaller units, get those up to speed or shut down, then reintegrate where necessary. I’ve seen that work wonders in a bloated, bureaucratic telco. Small units can maneuver and adapt, and where they NEED to communicate, they soon learn. If too many ressources are sent on pooling information between two smaller units, merge them.
Another overdue task is issuing some info to the public on what to actually do!
I’ll plead guilty to pestering the INS with loads of presumably dumb questions. I do not, however, consider myself all that dumb. Time spent on making a clear, unambigous procedure description for the typical cases would be very well spent because it would save people like me - who can read English but, alas, not minds - loads of phonecalls to the overworked people.
It’s no coincidence that there’s an underbrush of websites with advice, hints, more-or-less correct information etc. etc. - the INS itself gives information sparingly and often quite cryptically, if not downright contradictory. For instance, the cover letter from the consulate stated a list of forms quite different from those sent with it - it appeared that the forms were correct, the cover letter was out of date. (We’d been educating ourselves ad knew this.)
And in the end, I was asked to bring one thing, but then told that another was needed. (I brought EVERYTHING. Stay ahead of the buggers!:D)
A third task would be to instill a little respect for the fact that people have to take bloody important decisions based on the INS info. Do I quit my job or not ? Can I start shipping my furniture ? Cancel my apartment lease ? I made decisions like this on telephonic information from someone I may or may not have been able to find and hold accountable. It’s not fun.
Task number four: Get rid of the bloody backlog!
First focus on what’s important and what’s not, and get some gofers to run through the routine crap.
Routine crap example: I’m in the US on a K-1 visa that’ll expire in 90 days. No prob, because I’ll marry before that (and start yet another application procedure…).
However, I’d really like to be able to work until then. I am entitled to, even - it’s just not worth my while to get a work permit (EAD), because it’ll probably take more than 90 days to process.
Now why the HELL can’t they just give me a work permit at the port of entry ? Even if I was to abuse it somehow, it’d be valid for a pesky 90 days - even I can’t run the US economy into the ground in that timeframe. It’s a nonproblem to give me a temporary EAD, but for some reason it has to pass someone’s desk. Helloooo? I was let into the country, y’know. I got my shots and you’ve verified my clean criminal record.
Spend all the time you need to verify my records, I’m happy with that. But sheesh, gimme my work permit once you’re sure I’m legally in the country. And you’re sure, because you just let me in! Hand me a temporary EAD at the port of entry, and I’ll be pleased as punch.
Anyhoo, the last example serves to illustrate what I believe is the main problem: The INS is not geared along the processes its enforcing on its users. The organization appears to be structured more or less around the papers it handles - this is the department for approving work permits, this is the department for verifying form DS-156, this is the office for form DS-157 etc. The process for the applicant is then to send paperwork to these offices in the correct sequence and hoping it doesn’t lay around for too long between departments. And in an organization like this, it’s not a problem that K-1 visa immigrants can’t get work permits - actually, it’s less strenous for the work permit department.
If, instead, there was a “department for fiancee visas” with people actually focusing on the process of “getting the right fiances to the US and keeping the wrong ones out”, someone might have spotted he ridiculous work permit situation and rectified it - because it would reflect badly on his organization that this situation existed.
Well, it’s a thought, anyway.