Last year, one of President Trump’s agendas is reducing legal immigration and giving the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) more power to enforce immigration laws. While some changes or updates relating to deportations for those who entered the U.S. legally, others help immigrants obtain benefits.
The following are several changes or updates in U.S. immigration law which have an impact on immigrants in 2019:
- Deportation – When issuing Notices to Appear (NTAs), a new procedure expands the list of reasons for summoning an immigrant to appear in immigration court to begin the deportation process. Violations of state or federal programs associated with receiving public benefits, denials of immigration benefits due to loss of legal status in the country, and criminal and fraudulent activity are now part of the updated list.
- Application denials – A new guideline allows USCIS adjudicators to deny applications of immigration benefits (e.g. visa extensions, permanent residency, and U.S. citizenship) without first giving warnings such as Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) or Requests for Evidence (RFE). These two notifications enable applicants and their lawyers to intervene by fixing mistakes or offering more documents.
- Medical exam record – In regard to medical and vaccination examination to meet public health requirements for permanent residency in the U.S., Form I-693 can now be signed by a certified doctor up to two months prior to applying for permanent residency.
- Citizenship through marriage – When applying for U.S citizenship, a foreign spouse must remain married to a U.S. citizen and cohabitate for at least three years. If the immigrant spouse is divorced before three years, he/she cannot apply for U.S. citizenship.
- Green cards through marriage – USCIS adjudicators can waive the interview which is necessary after two years or marriage to lift the conditional status of legal residency for immigrants married to U.S. citizens. If there is enough evidence proving the marriage’s authenticity and other conditions are met, immigration officials may not hold the interview, which often makes couples nervous.