WASHINGTON – A rising number of family, work and student visa applications are getting denied, indicating that President Donald Trump’s effort to limit immigration isn’t confined to just the U.S. southern border.
Between fiscal year 2017 and fiscal year 2018, the rejection of foreign nationals seeking permanent residence in the country increased by 39 percent, according to an analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy, a non-partisan research organization. State Department data also show the number of denials for temporary visas climbed 5 percent for the same time period, along with a rise in student visa rejections.
“Trump administration policies are making it more difficult for both immigrants and temporary visas holders to enter the United States,” the National Foundation for American Policy stated. “It appears ‘extreme vetting’ and ‘merit-based immigration’ are phrases that have translated into fewer people being allowed to enter the United States to live, work or study.”
The rise in visa rejections is largely attributed to the Trump administration’s public charge rule and the implementation of tougher vetting procedures.
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The public charge rule blocks applicants who are determined to be likely to rely on public safety net programs. Four times as many applicants have been deemed “ineligible” under the public charge rule, and the Department of Homeland Security is proposing to expand it. Implemented during President Donald Trump’s first year in office, “extreme vetting” measures require potential immigrants and visitors to go through a much tougher screening and background check process.
The Trump administration’s “muslim ban” has also led to significant number of visa rejections.
The “2017 Executive Order on Immigration” was cited as the reason for the denial 21,645 non-immigrant visa applications and another 15,384 immigrant visa applications in 2018. The State Department confirmed that the executive order refers to the Trump’s latest travel ban, which has targeted the Muslim-majority nations of Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Chad and Syria, along with Venezuela and North Korea.
At the same time, the White House has also remained focused on illegal immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border. Border patrol agents apprehended or turned away a total of 76,103 immigrants at the Southwest border in February, the highest number of arrests in a single month in years.
The vast majority of the illegal immigrants apprehended are not Mexicans nationals, but family units from Central America, stretching border agents’ resources thin.
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