Rising health care costs are troubling many people seeking visas to the United States, especially after President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring visa applicants to show that they have health insurance or the means to cover costs. The proclamation would ban immigrant applicants from entering the country if they cannot show that their health care costs will be covered. In order to receive a visa, they will need to show that they will have approved coverage or be able to manage the costs on their own, a challenging burden given the expense of American health care in Indiana and across the country.
A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought forward by the American Immigration Lawyers Association has revealed documents that detail how the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has raised the denial rates for H-1B petitions. Indiana companies that are seeking an H-1B visa for prospective foreign employees now face a much higher rate of rejection compared to a few years ago. In 2015, USCIS adjudicators denied 6% of these visa applications. During the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, the denial rate had jumped to 32%.
Some Indiana residents have raised concerns about the Trump administration's approach to immigration, especially those with a personal connection to these issues. However, the administration has claimed that many of its initiatives are cracking down only on undocumented people or violations of the law. A new regulation issued by the Department of Homeland Security could drastically change the way that visa and green card applications from legal immigrants are treated, including those with all of their documentation fully in place. The administration announced its new understanding of the "public charge" rule in a press conference at the White House.
Some immigrants seeking asylum in Indiana might be denied if they passed through another country on the way to the United States. A rule by the Trump administration that was set to take effect on July 16 requires people to seek asylum in countries traveled through before doing so in the United States. There are exceptions for a few people, such as victims of human trafficking.
Changes are going into effect for a special immigrant visa program designed to help religious workers immigrate to Indiana or elsewhere in the United States or adjust their status to receive permanent residency. The employment-based, fourth-preference visa program has historically been available to both ministers and non-ministers coming to the U.S. to perform full-time, paid religious work. In the past, non-ministers were restricted to only 5,000 visas issued every year. However, no restrictions were placed on applications from ministers and their spouses. Now, the non-minister program is scheduled to come to an end altogether.
Indiana residents may be aware that the Mexican government recently agreed to do more to stem the flow of migrants traveling from Central America to the United States after President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs. One of the measures Trump is asking for is what is known as a 'safe third country" agreement. This would prevent those hoping to be granted asylum from reaching the United States as they would be required to submit their petitions in the first safe country they reach.
Indiana residents who are following the ongoing situation at the nation's southern border may be aware that President Trump's efforts to stem the flow of Central American migrants into the country have recently become more aggressive. The President said in late May that he planned to introduce tariffs on goods imported to the United States from Mexico unless the Mexican government takes strong action to stop migrant caravans. The following day, immigration officials announced that special protections for unaccompanied migrant children introduced during the Obama administration would be curtailed.
Identity theft is a serious and growing problem in Indiana and around the country, but the efforts some states have taken to tackle it have been criticized by civil rights advocates and the courts. In 2017, a Kansas court voided the convictions of three undocumented immigrants because prosecutors used information from federal forms. The court ruled that the provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 prevents states from pursuing criminal cases based on information found on certain federal immigration documents.
Indiana residents who follow developments in the nation's capital will likely know that a group of young people known as dreamers have become a hot-button political issue in recent years. Dreamers are undocumented young people who would be offered a path to eventual citizenship by the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act. The bill was introduced in 2001 and has yet to make it to the president's desk, but this deadlock has not prevented Democrats from introducing a new version that would go even further.
Some H-1B visa holders in Indiana may face an additional hurdle to remaining in the United States if a proposal that changes the status of their spouse changes. The H-1B visa is an employment visa granted to workers with specialized skills, many of whom are from China or India.