The Trump Administration has been enacting increasingly controversial policies in its efforts to limit the number of migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers entering the United States. These fluctuating laws and regulations aren’t just targeting illegal migrants, but anyone who is trying to enter the country by legal means.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) claims that it’s focusing its efforts on rooting out fraudulent visa applications, but critics are concerned that the Trump Administration is pressuring the agency to block legitimate applications. For a nation built by the efforts of immigrants, this is very worrying. The Trump Administration is using its practically unchecked power to redefine what it means to be “American.” According to POLITICO, the number of visas for temporary stays fell to 13% in 2018. Likewise, “Immigrant visas, which allow a person to apply for a green card, dropped by 14% over the same period. And for people with visas, such as H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers, there is less certainty about whether they will be renewed because of changes in policy.”
The H-1B visa is a popular and renewable work visa that’s valid for at least three years. Currently, 65,000 visas are granted to foreign workers each year, with an additional 20,000 reserved for people with master’s degrees from American universities.
In the past, important tech companies in the United States utilized H-1B visas to employ foreign workers. However, the Trump Administration believes these businesses are exploiting this visa option to replace American workers with cheaper, temporary foreign employees. Recently, President Trump announced a new proposal that will flip the current system. All applicants, including those with master’s degrees, will first be placed in a pool to receive one of the 65,000 H-1B visas. Once this cap is filled, hopeful applicants with master’s degrees may be eligible for one of the 20,000 visas reserved specifically for degree-holders. This new policy effectively limits which applicants are allowed to enter the United States.
Equally concerning is the fact that the USCIS is:
- Encouraging visa officials to assess visa renewals as if they are new petitions
- Denying visa applications without first requesting additional evidence or necessary paperwork from the applicant
- Not filing an advance notice of intent to deny before refusing a petition
The executives of Business Roundtable claim these policies are “arbitrary and inconsistent adjudications” that are threatening to disrupt business operations. Likewise, Jon Baselice, the director of immigration policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, states, “It’s not just disruptive for that individual who was planning on staying in the United States, living and working here with his or her family. The company has to find someone to fill that person’s spot.”
Foreign College Student Enrollment Drops in Trump’s America
Since 2016, the Trump Administration’s racist and anti-immigration rhetoric has discouraged foreign students from applying to American universities. With so many new restrictions and regulations, young adults are scared they will be arrested, mistreated, and deported by the American immigration system. In fact, just this last October, the USCIS announced a new policy that will penalize international students for staying in the country beyond the term of their visa, essentially kicking them out once their studies are complete.
In 2018, the State Department issued only 363,000 F-1 student visas. This is a 23% decline from 2016, when the Obama Administration was still in power. Tying this in to the H-1B issue, Trump’s fear tactics are effectively limiting the number of future immigrants who can legally work in the United States. American colleges are blaming President Trump’s immigration tactics for this decrease in enrollment. Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California system and a former Homeland Security secretary to President Obama, claims that “Many of our most successful companies are based on the talents of those international students. It just seems not wise, to put it mildly, to discourage that kind of international talent from coming to the United States.” Unfortunately, if the enrollment rate continues to decline, our economy is going to suffer significantly. According to a report released by NASFA: Association of International Educators, over 1 million international students studying at American universities contribute an estimated $39 billion to the U.S. economy each year.
Discover Your Legal Options Today
If you’re facing challenges in the legal immigration process, contact the Coral Springs immigration lawyers at Guerra Sáenz, PL today. Our experienced legal team has a comprehensive understanding of federal immigration law and can address all your questions and concerns. During your confidential consultation, we can review your immigration case and develop an effective litigation strategy that safeguards and achieves your legal objectives.