A San Francisco based company, FileRight, is lobbying with Obama administration to digitize the immigration process making immigration forms easier to fill out with a new online system. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receive millions of paper immigration application forms a year. The current process requires manual paperwork. This has created significant processing backlog.
FileRight founders have developed an online immigration application, which guides user through the process of filing out immigration paperwork, even flagging potential problems that may require help from immigration attorney. The company envisions integrating this technology with USCIS current system. The system will work similar to the process IRS follows to work with online tax form providers like TurboTax.
“We think that we, as online immigration service providers, fill that gap”, said Cesare Alessandrini, FileRight’s founder and chief executive.
The Company has spent $100,000 so far in lobbying efforts with Franklin Square Group and Monument Policy group. Lobbyists Stewart Verdery, a former top Homeland Security Department official and Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, the former staff director for the House Homeland Security Committee, have already secured dozens of meetings with bipartisan set of lawmakers including USCIS officials and representatives from Obama administration.
While these lobbying efforts certainly help, federal agencies are notoriously late in adapting to new technologies. USCIS is unlikely to make such a major change without careful consideration and probably a long way off from accepting immigration applications online. Nevertheless, it is still a positive step to see Silicon Valley working to push tech solutions for issues that lawmakers are incapable of legislatively fixing.