Trump to Further Curtail Documented Immigration

[Content Note: Nativism.]

Two years ago, in March of 2017, I flagged that the Trump Regime was signalling they would soon come after documented immigrants. As you may recall, it was something Steve Bannon said that raised the hairs on the back of my neck: "Don't we have a problem with legal immigration? Twenty percent of this country is immigrants. Is that not the beating heart of this problem?"

In the intervening two years, Trump has empowered and institutionalized a nativist, white supremacist, anti-immigrant agenda that I have long been warning will underwrite a targeting of U.S. citizens.

Just since last August, the Trump Regime has questioned the citizenship of Latinx citizens; proposed ending birthright citizenship; moved to stop issuing work permits to the spouses of immigrants on H-1B visas; and compiled a list of journalists, lawyers, and immigration activists with the directive for border agents to detain them for questioning at border checkpoints.

This, of course, does not even include the many heinous acts the Trump Regime has undertaken against undocumented immigrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees, who remain the canaries in Trump's nativist coal mine.

At the Washington Post today, Maria Sacchetti and Nick Miroff report on the latest plan to thwart and limit documented immigration: Closing every international outpost of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The Trump administration is preparing to shutter all 21 international offices of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a move that could slow the processing of family visa applications, foreign adoptions, and citizenship petitions from members of the military.

...The shift will ripple to offices in New Delhi, Port-au-Prince, Rome, and numerous other cities where the agency has offices that handle emergencies, smooth backlogs in immigration petitions, and provide direct information in foreign languages. USCIS foreign offices also investigate fraud.

Generally, the offices facilitate applications from potential immigrants to the United States; closing the offices would reassign about 70 USCIS staffers across the world who the agency's website says provide "valuable information services" and solve a wide array of problems, from aiding someone who lost their green card to helping widows of American citizens and members of the military obtain legal documents.

The move comes as the Trump administration is pressing to tighten the nation's immigration controls and shift from family reunification to merit-based immigration. Department of Homeland Security officials say it is part of an overall effort to streamline U.S. immigration operations.
"Streamline." That's quite the euphemism for closing shop on immigration services outside U.S. borders.

Should the State Department approve this proposal and the plan moves ahead, it will feel very much to me like the Trump Regime is rolling down the shades on documented immigration and communicating to the world that America is closed.

And an authoritarian who mounts a successful bid to keep people out will next turn his attentions to keeping people in.


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