The tilt in this Administration towards harsh immigration measures is well known because of high profile moves like the travel bans and the separation and incarceration of parents and young children from Central America who have sought safety in the U.S.  But a series of seemingly less significant steps that have largely flown under the radar of public notice have even bigger consequences for the fate of legal immigrants.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are in the U.S. legally file applications for new or different types of immigration benefits.  Up until now, if U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had questions about an application, or thought the application was missing a piece of evidence, it would send a request for additional information, giving the applicant a chance to supplement his visa application.  If USCIS ultimately denied the application, the agency sent the applicant a letter telling him that his application has been denied, informing the applicant of his appeal rights, and telling him that, if he has no other legal immigration status to fall back on, he should leave the country.

Continue Reading Does USCIS Want to Turn Lawful Immigrants into Unlawful, Removable Immigrants? The Answer it seems, is “Yes”

In an unusual weekend session, the US Senate passed the “Cromnibus” government funding bill, providing funding for most government agencies through September 2015. However, the Department of Homeland Security, which includes US Citizenship and Immigration Services and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was only funded through February 27, 2015.

The contentious 56-40 vote saw senators from both parties voting against the spending bill. “Liberal Democrats, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren, objected to a weakening of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, while conservative Republicans, led by … [Senator] Ted Cruz, tried to sink it for failing to stop Obama’s [immigration] order.”

By the end of February, both houses of Congress will be controlled by the Republican Party, which may use its funding authority to try to block implementation of President Obama’s executive order on immigration. Specifically, Republicans are leaving the option open to “try to deny the agency any funds for … easing deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants.”