Changes in Immigration Policy

A series of small moves concerning the immigration policy of the US have been undertaken in the past week by the Trump administration.

CNN reports the following actions made by the administration:

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions has issued a Decision directing the Board of Immigration Appeals to refer cases for his review when said cases have issues relating to when there is "good cause" to grant a continuance for a collateral matter to be adjudicated. Under this Decision, the Board's decisions on the matter are automatically stayed pending the Attorney General's review.

  • On 27 March 2018, President Donald Trump issued a Memorandum finding that the conditions in Liberia no longer warrant the extension of the Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED). Due to the conflicts in Liberia, the DED was first authorized by President Clinton in 1999 to allow certain Liberian nationals and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia to remain in the U.S when they would otherwise have been deported. The DED for Liberians were repeatedly extended by President Bush and President Obama.

  • The Commerce Department announced that it will include a question on citizenship in the 2020 Census.

  • The Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced a new directive wherein immigration officers will no longer default to trying to release pregnant women in immigration custody but will instead require a case-by-case evaluation.

  • The State Department proposed that applicants for visas and alien registration be required to submit five years of identifiers for certain social media platforms, previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, and international travel.

  • The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the White House is reviewing a proposal requiring immigration caseworkers to consider a wider range of factors to determine whether an applicant is likely to become dependent on public assistance. The proposal seeks to define the term "public charge" as used in the Immigration and Nationality Act and to define the types of public benefits that are considered in the determinations. U.S. Law authorizes the rejection of immigrants if they are likely to become a "public charge."

  • The Department of Justice and the City of West Spring Palm Beach announced that it has reached an agreement regarding West Palm Beach's Resolution Number 112-17. The City agreed to issue a memorandum stating its position that its local laws do not restrict information sharing with the DHS.

Immigration lawyers say that the greater scrutiny of visa applications have slowed down the process and have set the bar higher for longstanding categories of visas.

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