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.
The United States is the largest destination for foreign-born workers with a college or post-secondary level education. According to Pew Research Center, 14.7 million immigrant ages 25 or older with a college or post-secondary degree legally immigrated in 2015. This number is more than triple of those who immigrate to second-place Canada (4.4 million) or third-place United Kingdom (3.4 million).
The H-1B visa is designed specifically for highly skilled foreign-born workers. One could make certain assumptions about the distribution, one of which would be that Silicon Valley and Seattle with their tech-heavy economies would be metro areas that secure these visas. However, the world famous Pew Research Center has recently concluded a study that tracks where foreign-born workers go. The results may surprise some in that large East Coast hubs as well as Texas metro areas are seeing the highest levels of visa approvals.
We are all well aware that the impasse between the President and Congress related to differences of opinion on immigration and building the wall. It has now led to the partial shutdown of the federal government and will essentially furlough all non-essential personnel. However, fee-funded activities are not affected, which includes the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. This means that interviews and appointments will continue on schedule. Moreover, most petitions and applications will also be accepted and processed. There are some services that will be shut down or work at a much reduced capacity. According to the USCIS’s web site, the following services will be suspended:
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is proposing changes to regulations for how the H-1B petitions are counted. As of now, there is an annual limit of 65,000 petitions awarded by lottery and another 20,000 exemptions to that limit.
Immigrants who move to the U.S. to work often get an employer-sponsored H-1B visa that enables them to legally work here. Their immediate families are similarly able to get a work visa, which is an H-4. Now the Department of Homeland Security filed an update to accommodation in federal court on August 20 that enables them to de-authorize the right of H-4 spouses to work.
Singling out immigrants for military discharges was supposed to stop or at least slow down. Now there are new reports that this is not the case. According to the New York Times, some recruits claim that they are unfairly discharged on questionable grounds cited by the military as security. The Army even announced that it would halt this unfair treatment of recruits and review this policy, but it appear to continue.