“State Department Tightens Rules for Visas to U.S.”

9/19/2017
The New York Times


“The State Department is giving immigration and consular officials new grounds to deny entry to visitors to the United States or to kick them out if they are already here.

“In a cable to American embassies…Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson wrote that visitors who require a visa before entering the United States must then follow through on their stated plans for at least three months. If in that period they do something they failed to mention in an interview with a consular official…it will be presumed that they have deliberately lied.

“That would make it difficult, if not impossible, for them to renew a visa, get a new one or change their status. And if they were still in the United States, it would make those visitors eligible for deportation.

“Changes of plans that occur after three months may still be problematic but are not presumed to be the result of ‘willful misrepresentation,’ the cable said. 

“‘If someone comes to the U.S. as a tourist, falls in love and gets married within 90 days and then applies for a green card, this means the application would be denied,’ said Diane Rish, the associate director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association. ‘This is a significant policy change.’

“…But the new rule does not generally apply to citizens of 38 countries…who do not need a visa or an explicit travel, business or educational plan before coming to the United States.

“Most people from the Middle East, Africa and much of Asia do need a visa, however, and consular decisions about who gets the precious documents are among the greatest sources of tensions between the United States and these nations. In some foreign countries, hundreds line up daily outside American embassies and consulates to apply.

“…The new rules are part of a broad push by the Trump administration to crack down not only on illegal immigration but also to tighten restrictions on legal immigration.”

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