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Less tangible rules, more clouded discretion

Trump’s “wealth test” — a nickname given to the recent changes in “Public Charge” — makes it difficult for families with low incomes from getting Green Cards or a visa to the US. And unfortunately, the recent shift in rules is based more on discretion and interpretation, rather than actual tangible rules or assessments.

This affects peoples’ lives in a major way. It’s got the potential to rip international families apart and, ironically, send other immigrant families further into poverty even though it’s meant to prevent economic burden to the US.

What is “Public charge”?

If you’re not familiar: “Public Charge”, immigration INA law 214(a)(4), says that the US won’t grant any visas or Green Cards if the immigrant is “more likely than not” to rely on public benefits in the future. Meaning if you’re likely to use SNAP, TANF, some housing, cash assistance, or other means-tested benefits in the future, you won’t get US residency. …


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Imagine being unable to see your children just because you can’t afford to. For many, this is reality because the cost of immigration is a deciding factor of when families get to reunite in the US.

A long-time reader once reached out and shared her story with me. She was a fiance visa applicant hoping to marry her romantic partner in the US. She revealed a disheartening story of how she’s forced to leave her 2 children behind in the Philippines because they can’t afford the filing fees, traveling, and legal expenses. …


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source pixabay

US immigration looks muddier the longer COVID-19 lurks around. The next few months are going to be critical as immigration begins to rebound and safety measures must be enforced.

Clearly, we want to prevent importing more COVID-19. So with increased awareness, the focus will likely be on preventing infectious or unvaccinated travelers from entering.

That’s where the problem lies. The world may not be able to keep up with healthcare standards dictated by the US. …


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We treat the US Government and agencies like they’re working against us not for us. But the truth is that most of them are doing their jobs like how the rest of us do our 9–5.

One morning, I was sitting in a Courthouse waiting to submit an application for a permit. Nearby a group of people were clinching child custody agreements in their fists hoping to modify terms that morning. Just like me, these folks took time from their busy work schedules to sit there patiently to address something important.

Minutes grew into hours and frustrated faces poked up every now and then to see what was going on. After my third hour, one man yelled out “C’mon, I’ve got to go to work after this” to a seemingly unaffected reception staff who kept typing away at their desks. …


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In a survey of over 500 people in the middle of their immigration process, I asked about their biggest frustration before coming to the US. I was expecting responses like: “the procedures are complicated”, “instructions are vague”, or “the forms are long”.

Instead, one surprising theme kept repeating almost every time. People said life was unpredictable. It wasn’t so much as a legal concern to them as it was a mental struggle. They didn’t know whether they’d be approved and allowed to reunite with family. They didn’t know whether to raise hopes for a better life or not. …


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In a legal sense, US immigration is not as difficult as many may consider it.

Approval rates are high for a variety of immigrant visas. Paperwork is relatively easy because there’s plenty of free legal guidance online. And the government provides a decent reporting system to tell you how your case is proceeding. From a procedural prospective, immigration is not necessarily “tough”.

The real problem is — the waiting time. Year over year, the average processing time has crept up for most procedures. Let’s take the Fiance K visa process as a clear example.

Couples who applied for a visa decades witnessed processing times of 3–5 months from start to finish. This same fiance visa process now takes up to 10+ months… and with COVID-19 shut downs, delays are at unrealistic numbers. …

About

Prem Kumar

Prem blogs about the Fiance Visa process, helping tens of thousands of applicants, reunite with the long-distance partners. Visatutor.com

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