U.S. visa issuance much less: March statistics
Due to the pandemic coronavirus infection, reduced passenger traffic and the suspension of interviews at U.S. consulates in March was issued immediately by 35% fewer visas for foreigners than the previous month, writes The Hill.
As a measure to protect unemployed Americans, President Trump issued an executive order on a 60-day restriction on the issuance of visas and green cards.
In March, the State Department issued 24,383 immigration visas. By comparison, 37,658 were issued in February and 37,618 last March. The main reason for the drop in the number of visas issued is the closure of consular offices, which took place March 20.
“The one-third drop in the number of immigrant visas issued shows that the total number could have been the same as in February,” said Reichlin-Melnick, consul for the American Immigration Council .
Separately, the number of visas issued to Chinese nationals dropped sharply. The reason is the travel restrictions from that country previously approved by Trump. Thus, the number of immigration visas for Chinese citizens dropped from 2,392 in January to 134 in February and 92 in March.
Since consular offices likely won’t open until late April, the number of visas issued this month will be kept to an absolute minimum.
Immigrant rights advocates have criticized Trump’s harsh decisions, because the flow of immigrants will already be small due to the closure of consular offices around the world.
Human rights advocates are concerned about two questions: whether the immigration restrictions will extend beyond Trump’s 60-day deadline, and how the ban will affect the lives of people who are legally in the country and awaiting a decision on permanent resident status.
If the ban does apply to people currently in the country, it promises thousands of lawsuits from individuals and employers.
The expert doubts the transparency of the Trump government’s motivation. “If the ban is really only aimed at people currently overseas, then the real effect (of such a policy) will be small as long as consulates around the world remain closed,” Reichlin-Melnick says.
“Consulates will open, but the so-called ‘economic reasons’ for this presidential ban probably won’t change in the coming months,” he added. – I doubt it will last only 60 days.”
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