Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Limited hours at Dover application support center cause massive backlog of immigration cases

Roman Battaglia, Delaware Public Media
The Dover Application Support Center

Limited service at an immigration help center in Dover has reportedly caused suffering in Delaware’s immigrant community. 

Delaware’s only federal immigration application support center built up a massive backlog of cases, after operating on severely limited hours for months.

It’s currently open just 8 hours a week. Staff in Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester’s office say it’s operated that way since November, and is the only office in the country open so few hours. 

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service confirms about 4,000 applications were awaiting fingerprint, photo or signature appointments as of earlier this month. USCIS spokesperson Sharon Scheidhauer blames the situation on COVID restrictions and “staffing challenges.”

The News Journal reportssome immigrants lost jobs, health insurance and driver’s licenses because their visas expired while they waited for appointments.

The office plans to reopen full-time starting May 3. A spokesperson says customers have started receiving appointment notices.  

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
Related Content