The U.S. immigration system has undergone numerous changes under the Trump administration, which have strengthened the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to enforce immigration law.
As a result, the legal immigration process has become far more rigorous.
Implementing these changes falls largely to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through a combination of rules, policy memorandums and operational changes.
“Our goal is to apply the nation’s immigration law effectively, efficiently, and lawfully,” the federal agency said recently as it shared a list of the 10 ways it works to improve the integrity of the system — thereby tightening the review of applications for immigration benefits.
1. ENFORCE POLICY GUIDANCE ON DEPORTATIONS
There’s a new Trump administration guidance that expands the list of reasons for which immigrants can be sent before immigration judges to start deportation procedures against them, after the issuance of summonses known as Notice to Appear, or NTAs.
The change affects particularly legal immigrants who have been denied a certain immigration benefit request such as a visa or green card. If their application, petition or benefit request gets turned down, their presence in the U.S. becomes unlawful.
According to USCIS, previously, most such immigrants were not issued NTAs, which normally mark the start of removal procedures.
2. IDENTIFY STUDENTS WITH EXPIRED STATUS
A new guidance clarifies how to calculate the time foreign students with F-1 visas, vocational students with M visas and exchange visitors with J visas accrue unlawful presence in the United States once their academic programs end and they fall out of status.
USCIS states that in the past, students were able to violate their student non-immigrant status and remain in the United States to work without a required permit, but did not accumulate a single day of unlawful presence.
Now, international students who overstay or violate the terms of their visas, will have to voluntarily leave the country or face removal proceedings.
By Daniel Shoer Roth for MIAMI HERALD
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