02 Mar It’s Harder than Ever to Immigrate to The United States
The Trump administration has tried, repeatedly, to alter the laws regarding immigration without much success. While their attempts have stagnated in various appeal courts, they have- quietly- been able to affect significant changes through the use of administrative policy changes at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which oversees immigration. These roadblocks have received far less press and created an environment that makes an already difficult immigration process more daunting.
Immigration attorneys across the country have noticed a flood of small administrative changes that have drastically slowed the visa process; including an increase in challenges, requests for evidence, increased scrutiny of the H-1B visa for people in specialty occupations and a new requirement that people seeking employer-sponsored green cards be interviewed.
In an interview with The Guardian, Sandra Feist (an immigration attorney) said that when Trump was elected, she anticipated Congress would move to change immigration law, but she did not expect interference with the administrative process.
“I don’t think I expected them to attack my high-skilled immigration process so aggressively,” Feist said. “I also was not prepared for the ways in which they used the administrative processes so skillfully to create very real hurdles and barriers in ways that didn’t require any changes in the law.”
Additionally, programs created to help people fleeing persecution, natural disasters, and violence have been either retracted or slowed by bureaucratic hurdles; making immigration for refugees more difficult as well.
Immigration laws are very complex – and they are constantly changing.
With more than a decade’s worth of experience as a practicing immigration attorney, I’m still surprised by how many people ask me if they need to hire an immigration lawyer to process their petitions. The answer is always yes. You may think I’m biased towards that answer and if that’s the case, it’s only because I have seen- first hand- the difficulties that people have faced when trying to navigate the system on their own.
I have seen people deported because of incompetent work done on their behalf by fraudulent “consultants.” I have had countless clients come to me to fix problems with their cases. I’ve seen information lost in the system, and denials that devastated people’s lives.
But it is not just the laws that determine the outcome of a petition. These new administrative changes are often causing changes in processing times, prerequisites, and approval conditions.
Family-based immigration applications and petitions for adjustments can often take years to be processed. And if they find an error in the application, it will cause significant impact and delay on the length of the process and, ultimately, the outcome of your petition.
In my opinion, only an experienced immigration attorney can help you navigate the numerous steps required for applying for or appealing any immigration adjustment, including permanent residency and citizenship and naturalization.