This is indeed a horrible story.
My husband and I just went through this very same phase of his immigration process with the USCIS. We received his 10 year green card letter in two months with no questions asked. Every single person we encountered over the past five years through this journey has been nothing less than helpful, polite, and efficient.
Slamming the ENTIRE immigration system and everyone in it is totally out of line. Yes - this is a horrible situation they are in, and these do arise from time to time. That is not making excuses for those who messed this up, only to say that this is the exception and not the rule.
It will be straightened out, but in the mean time it is a truly desperate situation for this family and I feel for them. It could have just as well been us.
But please folks - don’t condemn the entire system because some people can’t do their jobs. There are thousands and thousands of people, like my husband, who enter the country legally, and with no issues or delays. There ARE good people there helping make that happen - THEY need help to fix the very broken system they are forced to work within.
I hope the Bell’s get some help soon, it sounds like they are doing the right things to make that happen.
(On a side note - we would have never EVER left the country for ANY reason in the middle of this part of the process. That was not a smart thing to do, regardless of what they were told. You just never know what’s going to happen between leaving and trying to come back.)