One very large group of people in this sad "derationalized zone" between legality and illegality are those who have filed all the proper USCIS applications for legal status, and paid all the fees, and are waiting, waiting, waiting. PRUCOL status was created bycourts frustrated with having to decide whether to deport somebody years before the USCIS will get around to decidingwhether they are here legally. The CIS report comments: "Even though the individual is illegally in the country and the application has only a small chance of ever being approved, some are still given work authorization." 20 years is not an unusual wait for the USCIS to process one applicant all the way to citizenship. (That's for a relative of a citizen, from a country without refugee status. If you are not a "refugee" and have no citizen relative, there is no line for you.) Illegals are even blamed for that! The CIS calls it a "loophole" used by illegals, as if illegals like all those years of waiting!
In mid 2001, Congress approved a $500 million initiative to reduce USCIS application processing to a mere 6 months. On March 30, 2004, the USCIS director told the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security about the great progress: within a year processing times averaged between only 3 and 72 months! (Depending on the type of application.) A year later it was ONLY one to 26 months! (For each round of forms. )
Another group in this category are aliens who have been granted stays of deportation by the courts. Another group is immigrants not being deported for political reasons, such as immigrants from El Salvador and Cuba.
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