The USCIS has recently introduced a new policy designed to shorten the wait time for in-person N-400 (naturalization) and I-485 (permanent residency) interviews by scheduling them outside a person's natural geographic area. The information we have been provided is that interviews could be scheduled as far away as a 3 hour drive. From the initial feedback we have had from clients, most are willing to travel in order to have their case processed more quickly. A person will have the right to reject the new location and return to the regular queue. Here is the USCIS announcement.
Yesterday, the USCIS announced that it would begin to require in-person interviews as part of the I-485 process for persons being sponsored by an employer. For over ten (10) years these interviews have generally been waived unless there were issues such as criminal, unauthorized employment, periods of out of status, etc. Under the new policy, interviews will be required in all cases. For an agency that is already short of manpower and money, this change will likely result in delays of many years. Not to be too cynical but, this appears to have no purpose but, to be another attack on legal immigration and create another chilling effect.