While most media coverage has focused on immigrants with no legal immigration status present in the U.S. and deportation, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), along with the State Department, quietly have been denying more and more visa applications. Specifically, between FY 2017 and FY 2018, the number of denials of applications for legal permanent residency has increased 39%. The number of denials of temporary work visas, such as the H-1B visa, also increased by five percent.
Other denials have increased over the past year, as well. The number of student visas approved by the federal government declined, as did the number of visas granted for Chinese business and tourism, immediate family members, and fiancés.
Furthermore, the State Department has ruled four times as many immigrants as being “ineligible” for entry to the U.S., on the grounds that they may become a “public charge.” DHS also has announced its intent to expand the “public charge” rule to use against immigrants seeking entry. Potentially, reliance on any public safety net program, such as Medicaid for children or food stamps, would result in ineligibility for those immigrants were they to apply for legal permanent residency in the future.
Additionally, USCIS is increasingly requesting additional evidence from H-1B visa applicants. In the first quarter of FY 2019, USCIS issued “Requests for Evidence” (RFE) for 60% of the applicants, whereas in the first quarter of FY 2019, it issued RFEs for less than 30% of the applicants.
The bottom line is that even though the Trump administration appears primarily focused on the eradication of immigrants with no lawful status from the country, it also is making it far more difficult for students, workers, and family members of immigrants to come to the U.S. Our goal is to assist you with your immigration concerns, whether family or business-based. We can evaluate your situation and develop the strategy that is most likely to be efficient and effective in your case. Regardless of the immigration matter that you are facing, the attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience, knowledge and reputation that you want and need to advocate on your behalf. When results matter most, contact us at (512) 474-4445.