Well, something has to change and the INS/DHS needs to get serious about addressing backlogs. Coming to the US after having been married in Italy was insane for us. DH (barring being a felon or having TB or something..) had a guaranteed right to permanent residency, but it still took almost a year to pull together from abroad (during which time he was not allowed to even VISIT the US); then once in the US he was issued a green card that expired in one year.. it took them more than 2 years BEYOND its expiration date to inform us that his permanent green card was ready. After more than 3 years in the US, we'd already left to go back to Italy! (I think if he'd had the permanent card in hand we might still be in the US...). How do you think a potential employer will look at someone with an expired green card and an expired letter of extension 2 years old?
The card's now waiting (I assume) at the JFK Federal Bldg.! Except now that he's left the country, we'd have to start the whole thing all over again. It's Dickensian.. the system has no concept of people's actual lives.. you could move three times, have 2 kids, or die before they even get to square one with your paperwork.
If this is how the US treats legal, law-abiding, professional, educated, English-speaking immigrants with financial means... our country is in sad shape indeed. There may have been laws and procedures in the past, but I imagine the processing took minutes or hours or days or weeks, not YEARS.
100 years ago, 80% of the population of NYC was either foreign-born or children of immigrants. At Ellis Island in 1907 they processed 1 MILLION immigrants in that year, up to 5000/day. They worked in the factories and farms, built roads and railroads, and contributed to the country's wealth. The US need immigrants!