Trump’s last stand on immigration

“Immigrants have applied to become US citizens in increasing numbers since Trump took office, which some policy analysts say is the effect of the president’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. But the path hasn’t been easy. They’re facing ballooning processing times, higher fees, more intensive vetting, and the possibility of later losing their citizenship at the hands of the Justice Department’s “denaturalization section.”

As of December 1, they also have to pass an updated, more difficult citizenship test. And on November 18, the Trump administration also updated its policy guidance to advise officials at US Citizenship and Immigration Services to scrutinize citizenship applicants about how they obtained their green cards, among other factors, changes that immigration advocates argue will result in longer processing times and more denials.

Both changes represent additional barriers to citizenship for the roughly 9.2 million immigrants living in the US who are eligible to naturalize.”

“The Trump administration has pursued a vast regulatory agenda aimed at curbing asylum and other humanitarian protections for migrants arriving on the southern border.

As part of a last-minute push, it issued a death blow to the system on Thursday with a sweeping final regulation that would bar huge swaths of asylum seekers from obtaining protection, including those who face persecution on the basis of gender and resistance to gang recruitment, and as victims of criminal coercion. Those targeted by international criminal gangs like MS-13 will therefore likely face a much narrower path to asylum under the rule.” 

“The Biden administration would have to issue new regulations to rescind any of the regulations Trump has finalized, including likely going through the burdensome process of giving the public notice and the opportunity to comment. It could also try to revise any regulations subject to ongoing litigation through a court settlement.”

“Though Trump has often claimed that he supports legal immigration, he has put up substantial barriers to foreign workers and is continuing to do so in his final days in office.

Trump issued an executive order earlier this year that froze the issuance of visas for most foreign workers applying from outside the US through the end of the year on account of Covid-19, and he is expected to extend that order. President-elect Joe Biden has criticized the policy, calling it a “yet another attempt to distract” from his administration’s “failure to lead an effective response to COVID-19.” He told NBC News in June that the policy “will not be in my administration.”

The Trump administration is also pursuing regulations that would hamstring the health care industry, universities, nonprofits, and businesses that rely on foreign talent.”

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