Recent changes to immigration policies are being referred to as another “invisible wall” to immigration by the Trump administration. Although it’s not a surprising move, it’s certainly one that shocked many immigration advocates because it seems to target legal immigration this time rather than illegal immigration.
New Immigration Policies Pose Barriers to Legal Immigrants Seeking Citizenship
President Trump made changes to the U.S. immigration policy which were set to take effect yesterday. These changes give U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service officials the authority to deny a green card application or citizenship application to a legal immigrant based on nothing more than clerical errors or missing evidence. The changes are designed to increase the severity of the penalty applied when mistakes are made on applications and furthermore, they speed up the deportation process.
The Immigration Policy Before New Changes
In the past before these new immigration policies, immigration authorities were required to send out a notice to the applicant to let them know of the error or omission made on their green card or citizenship application. This notice gave these applicants a chance to correct the error and continue with the application process. With the new immigration policies, immigration authorities may still send out notices, however, they may also opt not to. What happens when they don’t? Their application case is closed. For nothing more than simple errors or omissions, immigration authorities can choose to label the application as frivolous. This means that these applicants have no opportunity to rectify their error, to clarify their mistake before a decision is made on their application status.
Why Are New Immigration Policies Being Made?
According to officials, the new immigration policies are designed to reduce the number of “frivolous” applications that are made for no other reason than to buy time. It’s true that the back and forth process that results from incomplete applications or applications with errors delays the application process and “buys time” for immigrants, but just how many of these applications are going to be closed out because they are frivolous and how many are going to be closed out because someone judges them to be frivolous?
What Happens When Legal Immigration Applications Are Rejected?
What happens to applicants when their case is closed? They could face mountains of paperwork which can take months or years to wade through and incur thousands of dollars in fees. During this time, applicants who were trying to renew their visas may also face immediate deportation proceedings at the exact moment that their current visa expires.
The Question of the Actual Intention of the New Immigration Policies
While we may hope that the new immigration policies were put in place with the intention of making the immigration process for legal immigrants more efficient, they simply don’t clarify enough to make that the case. As it currently stands, individual immigration officers have the power to decide whether they deem an application to be “frivolous”, one single individual has the ability to decide the fate of another based on their own judgment.
How Stringent Are the New Immigration Policies?
Just how nit-picky are these new immigration policies, though? What type of errors can be deemed reason enough to reject an application? According to one article (via) “One application was not accepted because the seventh page, usually left blank, was not attached. Another was rejected because it did not have a table of contents and exhibit numbers, even though it had other forms of organization.” There is no doubt that these small errors were not errors made with the intention of delaying the immigration process, but rather innocent mistakes, yet immigration officials still have the discretion to close these cases. This type of commentary has led immigration attorneys around the nation to classify the new immigration policies as being yet another obstacle to the immigration process, designed to block even legal immigrants from coming to the United States. Some lawyers even suggest the new policies are a way to make legal immigrants to the U.S. feel as unwelcome as illegal immigrants by making the immigration process as difficult as possible.
What Do New Immigration Policies Mean For the Future of Immigration?
What do these new immigration policies mean for the future of immigration? It remains to be seen, but attorneys expect to see an increase in application denials and an increased need for immigration attorneys to guide applicants through the application process.
What Can You Do About New Immigration Policies?
If you are a legal immigrant to the United States and are worried about how the new immigration policies will affect you, it’s best to consult an immigration attorney. If you’re in the Pasadena, Florida area and need help understanding the application process for your green card or citizenship, Nelson and Associates can help. Simply head over to the contact page of our website and fill in your request for a callback from one of our attorneys. We will be glad to help you to understand the application process or if your application has been denied due to clerical errors, we can help you to understand what to do now and take every step of the journey with you.