Deconstructing the Invisible Wall: How Policy Changes by the Trump Administration Are Slowing and Restricting Legal Immigration

Report Author: 
American Immigrant Lawyers Association
Original Date of Publication: 
2018 Mar

This paper takes a look at Trump administration policies and procedures that are slowing the pace of legal immigration and erecting an "invisible wall" even as construction of President Trump's desired physical wall has been delayed or derailed. The authors divide the administration's actions into six broad categories. One policy change involves additional burdens created by new "extreme vetting" policies. Another arises from new restrictions on temporary skilled worker programs (In their discussion, the authors note there are more restrictive policies to come, including revocation of regulations that have permitted entrepreneurs to enter the U.S. and spouses of H-1B visa holders to work). A third category involves a number of humanitarian programs for "compelling populations" that are being terminated (DACA, TPS and the Central American Minors program) or that are being slowed to a trickle (the "extreme vetting" of refugees). Another policy change places new obstacles on the naturalization of immigrants serving in the U.S. military. Another change stems from backlogs in a range of applications for immigration benefits caused by slowdowns in processing time. Finally, the paper shows how USCIS has become less open to stakeholder input and has focused more on national security than on customer service. The paper concludes by noting that, once this administration is gone, it will probably take years to chip away at the policies and rules that make up the "bricks" in the administration's "invisible wall." (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

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Citation: 

American Immigration Lawyers Association. (2018). Deconstructing the Invisible Wall: How Policy Changes by the Trump Administration Are Slowing and Restricting Legal Immigration (Report No. 18031933) (p. 26). Washington, D.C. Retrieved from http://www.aila.org/infonet/aila-report-deconstructing-the-invisible-wall

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