Experts Slam Trump for “Halting Legal Immigration” with Planned Closure of Overseas Immigration OfficeH
Experts have criticized a plan by President Donald Trump’s administration to close overseas immigration offices currently assisting foreigners applying for visas to come to the United States legally.
Citing unidentified individuals familiar with the matter, The New York Times and Politico reported Tuesday that the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), L. Francis Cissna told senior staff this week that the agency’s international division would close down by the end of the 2019. Currently, the division operates in more than 20 countries, serving as an important support system for individuals to legally apply to travel to the U.S.
“Change can be difficult and can cause consternation,” Cissna wrote in a memo to senior staff, Reuters reported. But she added that the agency is committed to ensuring “as smooth a transition as possible.”
Jessica Collins, a spokesperson for the agency, downplayed the news in comments to the Times, suggesting the agency was still in “preliminary discussions” about the closures. Other staff members disputed that characterization.
“The goal of any such shift would be to maximize USCIS resources that could then be reallocated, in part, to backlog reduction efforts,” Collins said.
Experts argued the changes would only make legal immigration more difficult, something the Trump administration has already been accused of doing.
“Closing these immigration offices abroad is just another example of the Trump Administration’s hypocrisy. After complaining that migrants need to ‘come in legally,’ President Trump is eliminating yet another [avenue] for people to apply for entry and to unite with their family members,” Catherine Tactaquin, the executive director for the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights told Newsweek. “We see this as yet another attempt to shift funds toward border enforcement and controls—rather than using the resources to efficiently manage immigration requests.”…”There seems to be no expressed concern that closing these offices can mean significant delays and long term separation of families for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, refugees and others needing access to these offices abroad,” Tactaquin told Newsweek.
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