According to a report by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the State Department have increased their denial of family, student, and work visa applications since fiscal year (FY) 2017, coinciding with President Donald Trump’s crackdown on lawful and unlawful immigrant entry through the U.S.-Mexico border.
The NFAP, a non-partisan organization dedicated to research on immigration and other matters of national concern, found that the number of immigrants being deemed “ineligible” for acquiring lawful permanent residence in the U.S. has increased by 39% between fiscal year 2017 and fiscal year 2018. In addition, temporary permits for nonimmigrants like the H-1B special working visa have seen a 5% increase in refusals.
But that’s not all the NFAP report has to say.
The number of approved F1 student visas fell from 393,573 in FY 2017 to 362,929 in FY 2018, representing an 8 percent decline, or 30,644 fewer visas. Still, this was 15 percent more than the number of visas issued in FY 2016. B1/B2 temporary visitor visas, normally issued out to Chinese nationals looking to enter the U.S. for business or leisure, also declined by 15%.
An interesting figure is that foreign nationals looking to immigrate into the U.S. have been 4 times more likely to be found ineligible according to the State Department’s policies surrounding public charges. It is not a new practice to deny entry to immigrants that may end up depending on public safety net programs like Medicaid and welfare upon becoming a U.S. resident. But a recent update to the criteria for determining whether one would become a public charge significantly expanded its scope, allowing the denial of a much wider variety of immigrants.
The proposed public charge policy update was heavily criticized for its potential to deport a large number of lawfully present immigrants and to deny necessary health care to U.S. citizen children of immigrants who may be too afraid of removal to rightfully claim the public benefit.
Lastly, the H-1B special worker visa, which has been overhauled to encourage the entry of foreign nationals who have completed post-graduate studies, also took a hit. USCIS data shows that while less than half of applications were returned with “Requests For Evidence” in the first quarter of the last fiscal year, over 60% were returned for the same reason in the same quarter this year.
Applicants are free to make further attempts to prove their eligibility for the visas mentioned above despite their initial rejection, as many have successfully done last year. It should be noted, however, that they may have to face longer processing times.
If you want to learn more about the different visa options available or need assistance with your application, don’t hesitate to sit down for a consultation with the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today at (512) 215-5225 to schedule a consultation with immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle and get a full review of your credentials.