The Trump administration in 2018 focused on finding ways to curtail legal immigration and increase the powers of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enforce immigration laws. Although there are some updates and changes which have a negative impact on foreigners, others provide significant help.
Immigrants will be affected by the following changes and updates in U.S. immigration law:
- Expand the qualifications for deportation – Specifically regarding the issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs), a new policy introduced in June 2018 added several more reasons for which foreigners can be subject to deportation. The amended list includes criminal activity, fraud, denials of immigration benefits because of legal status, as well as federal- and state-program violations.
- Deny applications without providing warnings – Since July 2018, USCIS adjudicators can now deny immigration applications related to permanent residency, U.S. citizenship, and visa extensions without initially warning the applicant. There are two types of warnings: Requests for Evidence (RFE) and Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). These notifications gave applicants (and their lawyers) a chance to submit more documents or correct errors before immigration officials took action.
- Demonstrate joint residence during the marriage when applying for U.S. citizenship – Introduced in October 2018, before an immigrant spouse can apply for naturalization through marriage, he/she must live with their U.S. citizen spouse for at least three years. In the event of a divorce prior to the three-year mark, he/she will not be able to seek U.S. citizenship.
- Waives interview for permanent residency through marriage – A guideline updated on November 2018 enables USCIS officials to waive the interview immigrant spouses need to take to remove their conditional status in exchange for permanent residency—if adjudicators obtain enough evidence which proves the marriage is authentic and other conditions are met by the couple.
- Medical exam record changes for permanent residency – Updated back in October 2018, Form I-693 can now be signed by a doctor up to two months prior to applying for permanent residency. Applicants are required to meet public health requirements and this policy change helps streamline the process.