Frontera Fund News Trump Watch

The Trump Administration’s War Against Legal Immigrants

Written by Carmen Cornejo

Never be mistaken again. The Trump administration, in spite of their claim to support legal immigration to the U.S., are lying, as they do every day with so many issues.

In reality, Trump, Miller (advisor to the president), Sessions (Attorney General and head of the Department of Justice) and many in the Republican Party are immigration restrictionists and unabashed racists, thinly disguised as law-and-order guys.

These characters are actively, relentlessly changing administrative processes and policies that block immigration and/or make it difficult, even though many have a path to a legal immigration process.

Here are some of the most notorious ways they are changing processes and policies:

1. Transforming asylum seekers into criminals

In spite of the criminalization of mostly Central American families surrendering themselves at the ports of entry, legal experts assert that seeking asylum is a recognized right and that many of the individuals separated from their families and detained are following the right protocol to request the benefit.

Trump’s zero-tolerance stance is just a pretext for the massive and costly incarceration of individuals, including children, at a significant cost to taxpayers.

Besides, Congress has not authorized the full amount of money for these incarcerations.

Read here about the painful realities of incarcerating children.

Yesterday, journalists revealed FEMA had been quietly transferring $10 million of taxpayer-Congress-approved funds for emergency relief appropriations to ICE in order to pay for the massive incarceration of asylum seekers. We also wrote about how the administration is defunding important health and safety programs to fund their detention centers.

2. Zero tolerance on immigration application mistakes

Immigration forms are detailed and lengthy, and applicants (and even lawyers) make mistakes in good faith. Now, the Trump administration is rejecting altogether legal immigration applications with bona fide mistakes. So, no room for human error here.

Yesterday, a new policy kicked in allowing agents with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to deny visas or green card applications that contain even the smallest of errors. Previously, officers were required to send a “notice of intent to deny” (which gave the visa-seeker and/or their lawyer a chance to respond and correct such problem(s) instead of closing the process).

These are other instances.

3. Seeking to eliminate entrepreneur visas

As we wrote in Lacey Larkin Frontera Fund, the administration is eliminating an immigrant entrepreneur visa that was lauded as a way to increase the U.S.’s competitiveness and harvest global top talent.

A few months ago, the Trump administration announced its intention to end the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), which is designed to allow talented foreign entrepreneurs to grow start-ups in the U.S. by making it possible to acquire visas.

IER is not a giveaway. The entrepreneurs need to demonstrate a “significant public benefit to the United States” with “substantial potential for job creation.”

The rule allows international entrepreneurs to come to the U.S. for up to five years to start a firm; they are mandated to meet specific benchmarks.

Some of the requirements include raising a minimum of $500,000 in capital investment, generating at least that amount in annual revenue, or creating at least five full-time jobs to stay in the U.S. Many of these requirements need to pass strict vetting by DHS agents.

Currently, the number of IER applications being processed has reduced dramatically.

4. Requesting additional documentation for H-1B Visas and other petitions

The Indian community – which is the recipient of 70 percent of the professional, technical, company-sponsored visas – is complaining about the number of additional information requests they get for their H-1B applications.

The request for further documentation has jumped, in general, but Indians note that in the quarter beginning July 2017, 72 percent of H-1B cases for Indians received RFEs, compared to 61 percent for all other countries.

Request for evidence Indians.

All this extreme vetting costs taxpayer money.

As a result of this intense scrutiny and the new rules implemented by USCIS, federal agents have more tools to reject Indians’ H-1B applications.

“Between July and September 2017, the U.S. denied H-1B visas to 23.6 percent of Indian applicants, up from 16.6 percent in the three preceding months, according to the latest data (pdf) released by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to public policy research,” reported Quartz India.

We will keep you updated on these and other developments against immigrants by the current administration.