In order for all immigration applicants to get a green card in the U.S., now an in-person interview will now be required.
Last Friday, a spokesman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that this new step is part of Trump’s “extreme vetting” plan.
An interview is already part of most immigration procedures, however now it will be required for refugees, those who have received asylum, and individuals with work visas. In the past, those with work visas were often waived from the interview process.
The new policy change will be taking effect on October 1 according to acting Director James McCament.
In March, Trump’s controversial travel ban executive order was revised and departments were instructed to develop “uniform screening and vetting standards” to better identify those that “present a risk of causing harm.”
Not everyone is in support of this stricter immigration rule.
“The immigration service realized that most of the time it was a colossal waste of everyone’s time,” said William Stock, a Philadelphia-based attorney and former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Critics argue that it will increase the wait times for green cards and processing the applications are bound to take longer.
Some others are unsure how the interviews will benefit the agency.
“It probably does add some marginal value, but whether that value is enough to offset that additional work is hard to say,” said Stephen Legomsky, the USCIS chief counsel from 2011 to 2013.
But in the past, Carter Langston, a spokesperson for USCIS, said that adding the additional interviews is “an incremental expansion” and that it is “part of a comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and security risks to the United States.”
Langston also said the agency has plans in place to help speed up the interview process, which includes more training and will streamline procedures.
In 2015, 122,000 of 168,000 immigrants with work visas received a green card.
According to the agency’s tracking tool, the office is processing applications received from about 6 months prior.
Author’s note: This is Trump’s way of tightening immigration rules, while adding a personal touch to determine who is allowed to stay and work in the U.S. This seems like a much-needed step. Once an immigrant gets a green card you have all of the rights of a U.S. citizen and have much higher chances of becoming a U.S. citizen. If the individual turns out to be involved in criminal activity, it becomes much more difficult to deport them. So why not add an additional measure to help prevent that?