The new Immigration and Customs Enforcement policies have changed the status of the Immigrations and Border Protection (ICE) program and the requirements that support it. For several years, the program was a joint enforcement effort between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Today, the focus has shifted to the CBP – the new name for the immigration program. While this change has been heralded by some as heralding a new dawn for America’s Immigration system, others decried the turn in policy as detrimental to immigrant rights.
According to the leaked CBP memo, the new proposed immigration program targets two types of investors. The first group is targeted at technology or start-up companies seeking foreign expertise to hire them to work in their respective countries of origin. The second targeted group is comprised of spouses of U.S. workers with dependent children who are seeking either immigrant visas or green cards to accompany them.
In other words, the proposed project would seek to distinguish those who are seeking permanent residence from those who are merely seeking employment areas. This distinction is based upon the fact that the latter group represents a much smaller segment of the population than the former. However, many argue that focusing on this classification alone may not be helpful since many of these spouses who would be eligible for immigration may not have an immediate intention of applying for a green card or visa.
This is where the proposed changes in the Immigration law come into play. According to the leaked memo, the new proposed regulation seeks to make the green card process more streamlined and targeted by economic interests. As such, the focus is being placed on increasing the number of immigrants who can be sponsored for employment by requiring employers to verify employment status and the ability to pay green cards before granting employment permits. The changes also aim to lower the processing costs of the H-1B visa by reducing the number of approved visa applications by investors, thereby allowing investors to obtain green cards faster.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services division has been widely criticized in recent years for its frequent delays and mistakes in processing green cards and visa applications. Many of these mishaps have occurred due to the increasingly complex requirements that accompany the EB-5 immigrant investor program, including the higher level of fees that investors must pay. As such, the department has been criticized for not providing enough services to facilitate the program’s implementation.
These start up visa suggestions come as a result of feedback that the government received following a study conducted by the Government Accountability Office. The GAO studied six government agencies for their response and analysis of the immigrant investor program. While all of the six identified significant improvements needed to better serve investors, only three of the agencies made any recommendations to address these issues. For example, the GAO recommended that the USCIS provide more information to applicants on their eligibility for citizenship within 30 days of their submission. The GAO also recommended that the government allow for quicker reconsiderations of visa denials for those investors who may have otherwise qualified but were unable to because of a lack of supporting documentation.