Individuals who are seeking green cards based on employment will have to appear for interviews due to a new enforcement stance by the Trump administration. Immigrants in Maryland and around the country have typically been vetted already as part of the initial visa process, but United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is preparing to add 200,000 interviews to its workload to further vet individuals who apply for adjustment of status green cards.
Maryland readers may be interested to learn that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced plans to begin collecting social media and search results information on all immigrants. The plan was published in the Federal Register on Sept. 18 and will take effect on Oct. 18.
A ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States clarified the process for citizens in Maryland trying to bring the children of unmarried unions into the country. The law governing this process had been established in 1940, and its wording discriminated against fathers. A case representing a man who had been born of a male U.S. citizen brought this issue to light, and the Supreme Court decided that the law clearly discriminated on the basis of sex.
Maryland residents are likely aware of the devastation that occurred in the Houston area from Hurricane Harvey. Many residents of the city have been displaced, including undocumented immigrants.
Some Maryland residents may be aware that starting at the end of 2014, children fleeing from violence in Central America as well as eligible family members could apply to remain in the United States under the Central American Minors program. The program also offered an avenue for children younger than 21 with parents lawfully residing in the country to undergo a resettlement interview before coming to the United States. As of Aug. 16, however, the Trump administration has ended the program.
Maryland residents have likely heard claims that the H1-B visa program is being used by employers to replace qualified Americans with foreign workers who are willing to accept lower rates of pay, but a study from the University of Michigan and the Center for Global Development suggests that the controversial immigration policy is actually good for the U.S. economy as a whole. Researchers say that the incomes of the United States and India rose by a combined $17.3 billion in 2010 due to H1-B visas, and they claim that program increased the wealth of American-born workers by $431 million.
The rules and regulations covering citizenship, immigration and naturalization are established and enforced by the federal government. The same basic rules apply, generally, in Maryland as in other states. With regard to the naturalization process for spouses of citizens, the applicable statute is in the Immigration and Nationality Act, at Section 319(a). United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is tasked with enforcement of immigration rules.
In 2000, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act became law. This led to the T nonimmigrant status, and it gave authorities more power to investigate crimes such as human trafficking. Most victims of human trafficking are poor or otherwise vulnerable. They are coaxed into coming to Maryland or other parts of the country with promises of employment or other perks.
Prospective visa applicants who are interested in working in Maryland might already be aware of the suspension of premium expedited processing for H-1B visa applications that took place in April. The premium processing, which was suspended by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, speeds up processing for H-1B visa applications from several months to 15 days or less.
A one-time increase in the number of temporary work visas allowed for up to 15,000 additional workers to enter the United States for companies hiring under the H-2B program. For Maryland immigrants, it is important to note that the emergency measure does not include any reforms to the program that has been criticized for poor protections and low wages. It may also be of value to see how this move comes in spite of administration rhetoric against immigration.