The Trump administration continues its open assault on those who wish to enter the country and work. The recent ICE raid on poultry processing plants in Mississippi involved the arrest of 700 unregistered workers. The administration followed that up with new regulation that examines the applicant’s ability to earn income, rejecting those with little education or a likelihood of a low income.
The president seems to make announcements or write Tweets about changes to the immigration system on a daily or weekly basis. This happens amid other controversial comments regarding political enemies, perceived slights and other topics. Such is the case this week – he aggressively Tweeted about four liberal freshmen congresswomen (and allowed a racist chant about them at a political rally), the administration has also announced that it has drafted a new immigration bill.
The U.S. Department of State recently updated its work visa forms to now include a social media question on Form DS-160 non-immigrant visa and Form DS-260 immigrant visa applications. The question is: “Do you have a social media presence?” Applicants are expected to provide a list of platforms (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter) and usernames used in the previous five years. Passwords are not to be provided. There will be a long pulldown menu for the platforms, and then a field to enter the information.
The current administration is using many different reasons to prevent visitors from entering the U.S. One that has not gotten a lot of coverage is casual drug use. According to one recent report, a visitor from Britain arriving at LAX was denied entry after 24 hours of questioning and a search that yielded a two-year-old phone text that mentioned cocaine. The visitor who had planned the trip of a lifetime, spending one month in Los Angeles and one in New York City was sent home after admitting to drug use.
We spend a lot of time writing about problems with the immigration system. So it is a nice change of pace to share some good news. Reuters is reporting from the State Department that the Trump administration has no plans to cap H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store their data here in the U.S. The H-1B is used for skilled foreign workers in such fields as science, engineering, information technology, teaching, and accounting.
It has been difficult for international musicians trying to perform in the United States. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, many are denied visas even when they have performances booked at the world’s leading performing arts centers and often conduct educational or cross-cultural classes. These visas are officially referred to as a P-3 visa, which is for “Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program.”
The president has attacked the country's immigration policies on several fronts as part of his declared emergency. Whether the migrants seek asylum, cross the border illegally or apply through official channels, the president sees them all as a threat.
One of the Trump administration’s biggest arguments against illegal immigration is the conviction that there is simply no room left for more people. Many will debate what the right amount of international immigration is, but new census data suggests there is much more room than many think. The influx of international immigrants is keeping population growth on a steady upward trend in much of the country. Even though birthrates are down and death rates have climbed, half the population growth here can be attributed to immigration.
The president seems to follow the belief that the best way to remake the immigration system is to continually stir the pot. It is hard to keep up with the initiatives, hirings and firings, but this week it seems that President Trump wants to crack down on those who overstay the terms of their visa.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have released new data about the average processing times per form and petition type from 2014 through 2018. Despite the fact that the average wait has gone up for almost every type of petition, there have been particularly lengthy delays for certain applicants. Notable examples include foreign nationals seeking a green card now have longer waits than other foreign nationals seeking non-immigrant visa petition. The numbers have been particularly noticeable in the last few years since the 2016 elections.