In this Facebook live stream, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses immigration under President Donald Trump, and pressing issues that have recently been the subject of much debate in the news, including the President’s desire to end the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, a program that has come under fire after it came to light that the New York City terrorist Saifullo Saipov gained admission to the United States through this program. In addition, Jacob answers your immigration questions.
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program
The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is a program enacted by Congress, which allocates up to 50,000 immigrant visas per fiscal year to a special class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants.” Each fiscal year diversity applicants register for the visa program electronically at no cost. Applicant entries are selected at random through a computerized “lottery” system to allocate the 50,000 available immigrant visas for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. Only diversity immigrants who are natives of countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States qualify for the Diversity Immigrant Visa program.
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program was established in the 1990s under President George Bush, Sr. for the purpose of making the flow of legal immigration to the United States more diverse. The program sought to give foreign nationals from select countries, the opportunity to gain admission to the United States, provided they were born in countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States, to put them on a more equal footing with foreign nationals with historically high rates of immigration. In this way Congress hoped that the American demographic would become more diverse.
The President also discussed ending “chain migration” to the United States, whereby US Citizens and lawful permanent residents may file immigration petitions for immediate and extended family members to join them in the United States.
What to Expect under President Trump
- Delays in processing immigration petitions, removal of conditions applications, etc
- If your petition is outside of the normal processing time, follow up with USCIS regularly to determine the status of your application
- Requests for evidence have increased significantly for L visas, H-1B extensions, E visas filed in the United States
- Denials on cases that were previously approved very easily
What to Do Going Forward
- Be prepared. Understand the consequences of filing an incomplete or weak application. Understand the requirements of the immigrant or non-immigrant benefit you are seeking, and the supporting documents necessary.
- Consult with an attorney when in doubt. You do not want to be stuck with a nasty request for evidence that you do not know how to respond to.
Immigrant Visas subject to Numerical Limitations
- If your immigrant visa is subject to numerical limitations and you are waiting for your priority date to become current, you must keep in mind that even when your priority date becomes current and a visa becomes available, it will take additional time for you to apply for adjustment of status (if you are within the United States) or consular processing (if you are outside of the United States)