The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) relies on application fees for 97% of its $4.8-billion budget. Now, immigration has dropped substantially, and the agency is asking Congress for a $1.2 billion cash infusion and the right to add a 10% surcharge to those applications it does receive.
Effective at midnight tonight (12:00 a.m. on April 24, 2020), President Trump has issued an executive order suspending certain types of immigration for 60 days. Although this may sound alarming, there are large categories of immigrants who are not affected at all.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many people are in tough immigration situations. Were you on a work visa but lost your job? Is your non-immigrant visa status expiring? You may have had plans to leave the U.S., but now you're stuck because travel is not advised. Are you worried that sheltering in place in the U.S. will place you out of status?
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of anxiety. Among other worries, many workers are concerned that they won't be able to make ends meet and provide for their families. Many people are facing reduced hours or reduced pay or have even been laid off from their jobs.
When a natural disaster or other unforeseen event occurs, it can sometimes affect the processing of immigration requests. Currently, all U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices are closed for in-person services, as is the Executive Office for Immigration Review in Sacramento. The Department of State is closing embassies and consulates around the world.
Late last week, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump administration's "remain in Mexico" policy for asylum seekers violates federal asylum law. Another policy was also ruled invalid: one disqualifying immigrants from asylum if they don't enter the U.S. legally.
"This rule establishes that travel to the United States with the primary purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child by giving birth in the United States is an impermissible basis for the issuance of a B nonimmigrant visa," reads the State Department's summary of its new rule.
The Trump administration has made it harder for immigrants to apply for visas and green cards if they have accepted public assistance or seem likely to do so. People who have used certain types of public assistance could be considered a “public charge,” or a burden on the government, and can be denied visas or lawful permanent residency.
SB 54, also known as the "California Values Act" or the "sanctuary state" law, was passed in an effort to promote public safety and effective policing and to protect people's constitutional rights. It was signed into law in 2017.
Has your application for a U.S. visa been denied? There are several reasons this might happen.