The US has denied a lot of migrant visa applications based on the US State Department’s conclusions that the applicants might become ‘public charges,’ who will be dependent on support from the government. These determinations were derived from the data presented and interviews with immigrants, their family, and attorneys.
Some of the attorneys representing these immigrants are saying that the embassy is refusing visas even when the applicants have met all legal requirements that show their financial strength and independence.
The applicants are subjected to a tedious and complex application process and after fulfilling the requirements, are still denied visas. The issue has separated people from their American families in the US, trapping them outside of the country for months and even longer as they keep working on coming back. Unfortunately, not all of them are successful in the end.
One factor responsible for this rise in visa denials are changes made in the foreign affairs manual of the State Department last year which gave diplomats more power to determine visa refusals on grounds of public-charge.
The controversial proposal drew a lot of public attention
The changes were effected in January last year when the Department of Homeland Security was crafting a different and rather controversial proposal that will tighten immigration on public-charge grounds. The controversial proposal was announced in October, and it sparked a fierce public reaction, garnering over 200,000 comments from the public. It would take months to complete the evaluation of those comments.
The changes made in the manual are not the sole reason for the increasing numbers of immigrant visa denials on public-charge grounds. Government data shows that the figures rose since 2015 when less than 900 visas were granted.
The fact, however, is that there was a spike in denials in January last year following the manual changes. The 2018 fiscal year ended in September and close to 13,500 applications for immigrant visas were denied on public charge grounds. This number is the highest since 2004 and four times the number of refusals in 2017.
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