North Texas Daily

Skyrocketing visa denials are detrimental to immigrants

Skyrocketing visa denials are detrimental to immigrants

Skyrocketing visa denials are detrimental to immigrants
October 03
11:31 2019

The Trump administration has proven time and time again its hatred for immigrants, specifically immigrants of color.

In 2017, Trump signed the “Muslim Travel Ban,” an executive order barring foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries from coming into the United States. It also suspended entry in the United States for Syrian refugees indefinitely.

This isn’t a huge shock, because this rhetoric is what Trump prided his 2016 campaign on. What is surprising, however, is the lack of care shown by Americans and the lack of action taking place. This is not only discriminatory, but specifically denies the religious liberty the United States Constitution is supposed to include.

This travel ban is just the tip of the iceberg of Trump’s attack on immigrants and their entry into the United States.

International students have to jump through various hoops to even be considered for a student visa and then maintaining that visa continues to become more and more difficult. International students in the U.S. can only work part-time, on-campus jobs along with taking on a full course load every semester and they have to prove they are able to pay tuition and living costs.

On top of all this, the Trump administration has increased the student application fees and they have created new ways to punish those who violate conditions of their visa, even if the violation was inadvertent.

These new policies make the United States look unappealing to migrate to, and it only increases the negative look other countries have on the U.S., according to NAFSA. It is affecting it so much so, that the U.S. experienced an almost 10% drop in the number of newly enrolled international students in the last two academic years.

There are more restrictions to come, and the outlook for international students just gets grimmer and grimmer. Right now, as long as they continue to renew their student visas, international students can stay indefinitely until they complete their degree. New proposals from ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, place a maximum on the number of years a student can renew their visa, pushing them to graduate in stricter time spans and discouraging students for applying to doctoral programs, which can already take several years to complete.

Conservatives are always saying they want immigrants to “just come legally,” but Republican lawmakers continue to make it more different than ever to even do so.

Another one of the newest visa restrictions from the Trump administration targets immigrants of lower income.

Any immigrant looking to apply for temporary or permanent residency can be considered a “public charge” and denied entry. Deeming a person a “public charge” varies and allows immigration officials to throw around the word to discriminate those of low income. Making below $25,750 for a family of four, or below $12,490 for an individual increases the likelihood of being considered a “public charge,” thus in turn makes getting a visa almost impossible.

The average income for a Mexican family for one year ranges from two to four thousand U.S. dollars. This is nowhere near the poverty line immigration officials expect applicants to be above to have their visa accepted. One of the most common push factors for migration is seeking refuge from financial ruin, but this new “public charge” push denies almost every immigrant looking to seek a better life in America. 

There continues to be a long and ever-growing list of new rules that are placed on immigrants seeking to apply for a visa. Trump and his administration have dehumanized every immigrant seeking asylum at the border, and they will continue to degrade and restrict these immigrants until Americans pressure Congress to act.

In 2018 alone, there has been skyrocket in visa denials, specifically on the grounds of being a “public charge.” In 2016, the last fiscal year of the Obama administration, only 1,033 people were denied for being a “public charge,” but in 2018, 12,179 visas were denied with the same reasoning. That is more than a 111 percent increase.

With Trump in the White House and Mitch McConnell running the senate, visa denials will continue to spike until nearly every immigrant is denied entry. 

Featured Illustration: Jeselle Farias

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Natalie Taylor

Natalie Taylor

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