Will Trump close America for visitors: what scares Russian-speaking migration reform
Potential immigrants have become indirect hostages of terrorists. After every terrorist attack in America, President Donald Trump has increasingly insisted on the need to revise the country's migration policy - to cancel the lottery Green Card, limit family migration, reduce the number of legal immigrants by half. Once again, the White House made such a statement after an attempted terrorist attack in New York on December 11, when a native of Bangladesh detonated a bomb near the bus station at rush hour. ForumDaily talked with Russian-speaking immigrants and found out how they will be affected by Trump's migration reform.
Like a powder keg
Elena (name has been changed) will be able to obtain American citizenship in more than a year. After that, she planned to make a green card for her mother, who was left alone in Ukraine, under the family reunification program. When Lena first heard about Trump's plans to ban American citizens from making a residence permit for her parents back in the summer, she was horrified - all her plans could now collapse at any moment.
“During the campaign, Trump did not say that he would restrict legal immigration. And such his initiative was a shock for me, although I support the fight against illegal migration, admits Elena. “But what does this have to do with people who come to the country legally and are ready to pay taxes?”
Restricting family immigration, which the White House calls "chain immigration", is one of Donald Trump's backed changes in immigration policy. Arrested on December 11, 2017, 27-year-old Akayed Ulla, originally from Bangladesh, who detonated a makeshift bomb near a bus station in New York, according to the White House, entered the country just through the family's immigration visa 7 years ago. As a result of his actions, no one died, but there are injured people. It is believed that the young man was inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS), although officials have not confirmed this.
The White House then once again called on Congress to review immigration laws. “We know that the president’s policy calls for an end to chain migration, this is exactly the way this man (Akayed Ulla - ed.) Got to the United States; and if this policy were in effect, then this attacker would not be allowed to enter the country, ”said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Before that, there was another terrorist attack - on the eve of Halloween in New York, a native of Uzbekistan, 29-year-old Saifullo Saipov, who moved to the United States after winning a green card, crushed a man on a pickup 8 and injured 15. After this terrorist attack, the White House demanded that the lottery be canceled completely. Green Card, according to which 50 thousands of randomly selected people enter the US each year.
The White House estimated that more four terrorists previously arrived in the States, winning a residence permit in the lottery.
New Immigration Rules
For the first time, I’m talking seriously about immigration reform in August 2017, when President Donald Trump publicly endorsed the bill The RAISE (“Lifting”), developed by two Republican senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue. The bill, among other things, proposed:
- let in the USA only highly skilled immigrants;
- cancel the Green Card Lottery;
- cut the number of legal immigrants from 1 million to 500 000 per year;
- limit family immigration: it will be possible to transfer to the USA only immediate relatives - spouses and minor children; for parents of American citizens they plan to introduce a special visa with a limited period of validity and thus prevent them from receiving social benefits;
- restriction the number of refugees up to 50 thousand annually.
It is not yet clear when the RAISE initiative may be taken up by the Congress and in what form the lawmakers will consider the document. However, it is possible that the face of American immigration may soon change dramatically.
Marina Chilingaryan, who previously worked for an immigration company that is now working as a paralegal, has been waiting for her 6 family for years, being a green card holder. Now she keeps track of how the queue for obtaining immigrant visas for relatives moves by the old memory every month.
“The Trump reform could eliminate siblings and the reunification of US citizen parents with their adult children. This is sad, because those who cannot win a green card or enter for other reasons can immigrate to the United States through family ties, although reunification has some kind of cosmic time frame. For example, one family is waiting to be reunited with a married son, the petition was filed in 2009, and now August 2005 is being considered. This means they have to wait another 5-6 years at least, which will eventually result in 14 years of waiting. The other two families are green card holders who have applied for reunification with older children. The first filed in April 2013, the second - in June 2015. November 2010 is still considered in their categories. I don't know if something will change in connection with the reform for those who have already submitted. This, in theory, should affect new applicants, ”says Marina.
On results of 2016 year, green cards in the category of “next of kin” (this includes spouses, unmarried children under 21 of the year and parents of US citizens) received 315 thousand people, another 215 thousand people received visas as family members (these include unmarried children of US citizens older than 21 of the year, married children of US citizens, adult brothers and sisters of American citizens, as well as spouses and unmarried children of green-card holders). By approximate data for 2017 year, these figures are slightly less - 254 thousand close relatives and 212 thousand - all the rest.
Who did not have time - he was late
Irina Bashmakova's sister, a US citizen, applied to be reunited with her in 2004, but 13 years later, Irina still has not received a green card. All this time she is waiting for her turn - she is moving very slowly. The fact is that there are a lot of people who want to reunite in the F4 category (brothers and sisters of adult US citizens), and there is a certain quota for this category of immigrants. Therefore, the whole process is delayed on average for 12 years. You can track your turn on the website visa bulletin. Now the Citizenship and Immigration Service is considering petitions in just the 2004 year, and Irina very much hopes that the decision on her case will be made before the RAISE reform is adopted (if, of course, it will be taken at all).
Anna Tkacheshak is also worried about the possible adoption of the immigration reform, since in this case she will not be able to reunite with her son and receive a green card in the future. Anna's son, a singer, has become a visa holder for people with extraordinary abilities and is about to get a green card. The woman is afraid that if the reform is adopted, then the only option that awaits her after her son receives citizenship is a 5-year visa, but not a residence permit in America. And then the ocean will cut her and her son most of the time.
Anton won the green card in 2015 year and moved to Chicago from Lvov with his wife. In his hometown he had his own business, in America he had to start everything from scratch and the first year was not enough at all. The man had to apply for allowance, because his wife became pregnant shortly after her arrival and could not work, suffering from toxicosis.
“I am very grateful to the state for helping us in the most difficult first year. I had my own business in Ukraine, but he did not bring the money that would be enough for me to move and have a comfortable life before finding a normal job. Because with my wife, we had to apply for food stamps Food Stamps and on insurance Medicaid - the wife was paid for observation and childbirth. I know Trump wants to cancel all this. Perhaps this is the right decision from the point of view of maintaining the budget, because there are really a lot of people who apply for benefits. But this is unconstitutional, in my opinion, ”says Anton.
Now Anton has received a realtor's license and is renting out luxury real estate. The family has enough money, he said. He dreams of transporting his parents to America, but he has not yet started the process - so far he has only submitted an application for the green card lottery on their behalf.
“It is not clear what will happen now. While I wait for citizenship, the laws may change a lot, and I'm afraid that I won't be able to transport my parents. We'll see. I will hope that one of the parents will also win the green card, if it is not canceled, too, ”a Chicago resident shares his feelings.
Anton says that among his friends there are many people who won the green card in the lottery. Basically, they are residents of Moldova and Ukraine. The guy says he considers it unfair to cancel the lottery, because then tens of thousands of people will lose the chance to move to the United States.
Point system instead of the Green Card Lottery
One of the White House’s arguments for canceling the lottery Green Card Is that the residence permit is often won by unskilled workers.
For this reason, Trump wants to end the program and introduce a scoring system like the one that is successfully working in Canada and Australia. Through this program, the US government will evaluate each potential immigrant based on age, language skills, professional experience, and special merit such as the Nobel Prize or Olympic medals. There is also a bonus for those who have already paid for obtaining a green card under the old system. The required minimum passing is 30 points, the maximum possible number of points is 90.
According to the RAISE bill, immigrants from 20 to 30 years old have the highest chances of moving to the United States - young people aged 18 to 21 will receive 6 points, from 22 to 25 years old - already 8 points, and from 26 to 30 years old - 10 points.
Completed higher education will also add a significant number of points to applicants. Foreigners who have earned a bachelor's degree in their country apply for 5 points against 6 points, which are awarded to people who have graduated from an American undergraduate degree. Specialists or masters in the field of STEM (S - science, T - technology, E - engineering, M - mathematics), educated in their native state, can count on 7 points, and those who have received the same degree in America - 8 points.
Knowledge of the language must be confirmed by passing one of the internationally certified tests - TOEFL or IELTS. Depending on the level of knowledge, a potential immigrant will be able to get from 1 to 12 points.
Work is the hardest item on this list. For example, if a prospective employer offers a prospective employee a salary of 150% of the median family income for the state they are planning to move to, the immigrant will receive 5 points. If the annual income is 200%, then - 8 points.
Only Nobel Prize winners (25 points) or Olympic champions (15 points) can hope to receive points in the point of merit.
The site Time You can take a preliminary test and see if you could immigrate to the United States as part of a new system if you accepted the reform.
And although the point system is the most controversial point of the RAISE reform, some hope that it will be thanks to it that they will be able to get to America.
Olga Topolskaya is one of them. She works as a veterinarian, her husband works in the IT-sphere as a system administrator. Olga's husband is still struggling with obtaining a work visa - potential employers do not want to wait from a year to one and a half years, which will be spent on paperwork to hire Olga's husband. This year the couple took part in the lottery Green Card and very much hopes to win. If they fail to win, and the RAISE reform is adopted, the spouses want to consider immigration on a point system. “We are waiting for Trump's plans to come true, and it will be much easier for us as specialists to leave!”, The girl says optimistically.
Now spouses are actively learning English and are looking for an employer for their husband.
However, so far nothing has changed in terms of immigration to the United States, and if you move overseas is your lifelong dream, read our material about 10 ways to stay in the USA. Maybe you can choose an option for yourself.
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