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The process of applying for a Green Card is already notoriously complex, but the Trump administration took steps on Monday to make the process even more difficult. Far more Green Card applicants will now be required to attend an interview, which is something that was waived in an effort to streamline the process. Applications made by fiancees and parents of US citizens are expected to remain unchanged.
According to the current USCIS guidelines, many individuals have their interview waived, particularly in the case of individuals with exceptional abilities and those with employer backing. However, as of Monday, the department responsible for issuing green cards plans to expand interviews for those applying underemployment or refugee status will now be interviewed as standard. This is expected to slow down the process significantly for those hoping to acquire permanent residency in the United States.
The latest executive order to be put into play by the Trump administration is set to be enforced from the 1st October 2017. In the past, the Obama administration looked into expanding interviews for individuals based on risk factors such as country of origin. The executive order from the Trump administration is thought to stem from Trump’s order which is known as the Travel Ban. It is also thought to be required in order to combat fraud.
It is not understood how employment-based applications might be considered a risk factor for terrorist activity or fraud. Former USCIS Director, Leon Rodriguez said: “You are applying a limited resource to do this. The question is, why? Really, in terms of the ways you could be screening people in for interviews, why is employment-based a risk, compared to other categories and other ways that you might screen for risk?”
Critics are concerned about the impact this might have on Green Card processing times, which already take over a year, on average. As of September 2016, it took USCIS 333 days to process an employment-based application, and this is without an interview. The new policy could impact around 180,000 people per year. According to the USCIS Director James W. McCament, new training and technology will be put to use in order to handle the increased pressure on the system.