Anastasia Tonello, US immigration expert, discusses the wall against legal immigration by the Trump administration, revealing how legal infrastructure has been quietly manipulated to dismantle immigration.
While much has been made of the wall at the southern border – what it will look like, what it will be made of and who will pay for it, very quietly, the Trump administration has been building an invisible wall through changes in policies, interpretations, and resource allocations designed to curb and reduce legal immigration.
A 2018 report by the American Immigration Lawyers Association: “Deconstructing the Invisible Wall: How Policy Changes by the Trump Administration are Slowing and Restricting Legal Immigration” finds deliberate efforts to decrease immigration to the U.S. through travel bans and extreme vetting, changing long-held policies, whilst initiating new policies.
Specifically, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for overseeing immigration benefits, has managed to slow or stop the admission of temporary skilled workers and entrepreneurs, terminate or curtail programs designed to address gaps in the immigration laws and decrease channels for stakeholder engagement and customer service.
Many of the more high-profile changes to immigration law and policy, such as family separation, have been successfully challenged in the courts.
But more mundane changes such as increasing delays and processing times, changing discretionary standards and requirements and moving resources away from benefits and to enforcement, arguably fall squarely in the purview of the executive.
As such they are less susceptible to legal challenges and have largely remained intact.
How did the travel ban change immigration?
The idea of a travel ban began before President Trump was elected whilst on the campaign trail. One of his first executive actions as president was signing Executive Order 13769, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” Read more