Required reading: USCIS achievements for 2019 year and efforts to reduce US immigration
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published preliminary agency statistics, achievements and efforts to implement President Trump's agenda for the 2019 fiscal year.
Preliminary evidence highlights immigration trends and illustrates the work done by USCIS in the 2019 fiscal year. The agency will publish the final data next month.
“The 2019 fiscal year was a historic year for USCIS, and we have achieved many of President Trump’s goals for our immigration system to work better for America. As an agency, we worked hand in hand with our DHS counterparts to respond to President Trump’s call to resolve the ongoing crisis on our southern border. In the face of Congressional inaction, we have taken significant steps to mitigate loopholes in our asylum system, to combat fraudulent claims and to strengthen the protection we have in order to maintain humanitarian assistance for those who really need it, ”said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli.
“Meanwhile, USCIS employees continue to administer the legal immigration system in our country, processing more applications and requests, while taking the oath at 833 000 of new US citizens, which is the 11-year high,” he added.
“Next year, we will continue to use all available tools to fulfill President Trump’s promises to the American people. We will continue to fulfill its tasks of strengthening the country's tense immigration system and mitigating the crisis on our border, while the agency continues to fairly and effectively consider the statements of those who are seeking legal status in the US, ”continued Ken Cuccinelli.
Key political reforms
- Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) (known as "Expect in Mexico"): Trump administration took action in January 2019 to restore a safe and orderly immigration process along the southern border of the United States and reduce the number of foreigners trying to beat the immigration system. According to the MPP, foreigners who attempt to enter the United States from Mexico without proper documents can be sent back to Mexico while their case is pending.
- Third Country Transit Asylum Rule (Deny Asylum those who came to the United States not from their country of origin, but in transit through another state, without contacting their authorities for protection.): in July DHS and the Department of Justice published a joint temporary asylum rule. In particular, with some exceptions, the rule prohibits foreigners traveling along the southern border from obtaining asylum in the United States unless they apply for asylum in at least one other country through which they passed.
- In fiscal year 2019, USCIS completed an ambitious plan to recruit 500 employees to the Asylum Department by the end of December 2019.
- In fiscal year 2019, from 60 to 90, USCIS employees were transferred to places of detention or border patrol stations along the southwestern border.
- The asylum department has added new staff to the southern border.
Refugee Document Processing
- USCIS has processed tens of thousands of refugee documents abroad.
- USCIS has implemented a pilot program to verify the identity of refugee applicants using biometric records.
Protecting US Workers and Taxpayers
In August, USCIS announced the rules of the administration of US President Donald Trump, which should prohibit the issuance of green cards Immigrants using Medicaid, food stamps, or other forms of government assistance.
On October 11 and October 14 on October 2019, judges in eight separate cases in the U.S. District Courts ordered DHS to move away from implementing and enforcing this rule and postponed the date of entry into force until the trial is finally resolved.
In July, USCIS published a rule, which introduced a number of significant changes to the EB-5 immigration investment agency program. Under the EB-5 program, individuals are eligible to apply for legal residency in the United States if they make the necessary investments in a new business in the United States and create 10 full-time jobs for skilled US workers. Reforms introduced in the program this year increase the minimum level of investments to account for inflation over the past three decades and significantly limit the possibility of creating targeted areas of employment.
USCIS takes steps to detect and suppress immigration fraud, using various verification processes to verify the identity and rights of the applicant.
- In fiscal year 2019, USCIS expanded some screening procedures, including additional screening of candidates for naturalization and permanent residence.
- Service agents more than 8 000 times visited immigration sites.
- The core background check system for USCIS (known as ATLAS) has processed over 16,5 million checks using law enforcement and other federal databases. As a result, about 124 000 messages were received about potential fraud, violation of public safety and national security.
- The FDNS continued to use information from open sources and publicly available information on social networks to investigate possible cases of fraud, threats to national security and public safety, conducting approximately 11 420 checks.
From the beginning of the fiscal year 2019 to August of the 2019 year, USCIS reviewed about 7,5 million immigration benefits, which is 14% more than in the last fiscal year. However, data for September 2019 is not yet available.
USCIS also naturalized 833 000 new citizens in the 2019 fiscal year — the 11-year maximum of new oaths of citizenship.
USCIS has granted 582 000 legal residence permits to people and processed over 2,1 million applications for work permits. The agency also verified over 40 million new employees through E-Verify.
From the beginning of the fiscal year 2019 to August of the 2019, reserves of green cards and naturalization were reduced by 25% and 20%, respectively.
The transition from paper applications to a fully digital format continues to be an important priority for USCIS. Consequently, USCIS will further expand the possibilities of online registration.
- In the 2019 fiscal year, 1 214 300 applications were submitted online, which is 10,4% more than the 1 201 242 submitted in the 2018 fiscal year.
- USCIS added three forms (N-600, N-600K and I-539) during the 2019 fiscal year. A total of eight forms (I-90, I-131A, N-336, N-400, N-565, N-600, N-600K and I-551) are now available for online registration.
- USCIS plans to add several more electronic filing forms for the 2020 fiscal year, including I-485, I-765, I-131, I-129 and I-589.
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