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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawUS Visas and the Trump Administration's "Invisible Wall"

US Visas and the Trump Administration's "Invisible Wall"

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing US Immigration matters specifically in the context of what is being referred to, especially by Immigration practitioners that I have talked to, as Trump's "Invisible Wall". 

Now we all know about the initiatives by the current Administration for more border security along the United States' Southern border but what we are talking about here is more of for lack of better term esoteric notion in the sense of an "invisible wall" that is being erected well so some would say being erected in terms of the administrative procedures associated with, not only the adjudication of immigration matters but the adjudication of for example Visa applications abroad.

What are we talking about? Well this is kind of a fuzzy issue in certain ways and it is definitely nebulous and it is rather difficult to sort of pin down exactly what we are talking about but I will say that in certain ways I do pause at certain things that will happen at various junctures with respect to cases that are processing through our office especially with respect to family-based immigration which is the bulk of the immigration cases that we undertake here. What are we talking about to the layperson viewer? What I mean by this invisible wall or what others mean when they bring it up? I am not entirely convinced that there is some grand conspiracy to sort of forestall or cause problems for legal immigrants to the United States. That being said things like the creation of the National Vetting Center which we have done a video on,  various changes for example policy with respect to adjudication and the processing of Non-immigrant Visa Applications most notably Tourist visa applications, where once there was a Presidential Executive order that essentially was pouched in terms of a guideline but it was a very strong guideline which put an impetus on adjudicating Consular officers to go ahead and get adjudications of tourist visas done within a couple of weeks.  Trump came in and rescinded that rule and it was sort of an interesting rescission because how do you sort of rescind a guideline that requests expedite? You know you just stop requesting the expedite but does that mean you wanted to move slower? Actively you are asking for it to move slower? It is a good question but the thing to take away from this video is the fact that the way this Administration views Immigration is with a certain amount of skepticism on the part of the applicants I guess I should say. They are looking at those who are going through the immigration process with a great deal more scrutiny, especially than the prior Administration and frankly than any Administration that I have ever dealt with when processing one of these cases. 

So the thing to take away from this video is don't be particularly surprised when Requests for Further Documentation come up. For example recently there have been rule changes with respect to the adjudicators want to see tax transcripts now, rather than simply copies of tax returns; again a higher threshold of evidentiary requests.  They are making evidentiary requests more poignant for lack of better term and they are undertaking more scrutiny in the process. They are going through some of these cases with a fine-toothed comb. I have seen certain cases where the sponsoring relative clearly has the financial means to go ahead and sponsor their fiancée or spouse for Immigration in the United States, but they have brought up points with respect to you know "an asset vs. adjusted and non adjusted gross income", things of that nature. 

Now those are things that need to be worked out with respect to the forms and things, but the point I am trying to get to at is, overall I won't say there is an "invisible wall" but perhaps I should say there is maybe an invisible entropy to some extent with respect to how visas are processed  where once there was sort of an attitude of "let's keep things moving"  and as long as the bona fide applicants and petitioners meet the requirements and should go ahead and be issued a Visa, we are not going to go out of our way to try and find a reason not to.  I am not saying the current Administration is going out of its way to find a reason not to issue visas but I think that they added a level of scrutiny that didn't exist in the past. 

In conclusion one other piece of information that again shows me that there may not be an "invisible wall" but there is certainly a paradigm shift within the Administration, and we have gone through this in another video. There was a memo that was issued, September 11, 2018, which changed the criteria under which Adjudicating Officers could go ahead and issue outright denials whereas in the past they could issue a Request for Evidence; before they could issue a denial they needed to Request for Further Evidence before issuing a denial. Now an outright denial can be issued where the case does not facially meet the requirements for that particular petition. 

So the thing to take away from this video is, tough to say exactly what is going to happen in the future but I would not presume that the US Immigration process is going to get easier. I don't think there is a concerted effort to make it harder but I also don't think that there is a concerted effort to make it easier. So that is my two cents to take away from this video.