Trump Administration Addresses Security and Fraud in Immigration System
While Congress mulls over various immigration legislation, the Trump administration is adapting agency policy to combat fraud, tighten security, and ensure integrity in the U.S. immigration system. Specifically, the administration is amending policy to strengthen the integrity of the Refugee Program, mitigate visa fraud, and increase worksite audits in order to safeguard job opportunities for American workers.
The Trump administration resumed the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) last week, concluding its 120-day hold. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 24, 2017) President Trump issued an executive order on Tuesday, Oct. 24, to restart refugee admissions while also heightening screening and vetting measures to deter and detect fraud in the program. (Executive Order, Oct. 24, 2017) The heightened security measures particularly target 11 nations that fail to cooperate or communicate sufficiently with U.S. security officials.
The President's orders asked the Departments of State and Homeland Security, in consultation with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to review security procedures and determine whether the program should be reinstated to a manner to ensure public safety. (FAIR Legislative Update, Mar. 7, 2017) Accordingly, officials advised the President that the improvements to the USRAP vetting process are "generally adequate" to ensure the security and welfare of the United States, but the administration will apply special security measures to categories of refugees whose entry continues to pose threats to security. (Executive Order, Oct. 24, 2017)
Additionally, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) rescinded its policy that allows immigration officials to defer previous approvals for H-1B applicants. (CNN Money, Oct. 25, 2017) USCIS's new policy, designed to further protections on American workers, requires all H-1B renewal applications to be adjudicated in the same manner as an initial application. (USCIS Memorandum, Oct. 23, 2017) This new policy will make sure that only qualified H-1B workers will be allowed to stay in the U.S. and will help crack down on visa fraud and abuse.
The administration is also heightening efforts to make sure ensure employers comply with federal law and remove the job magnet for illegal immigration. (Law360, Oct. 18, 2017) ICE Director Thomas Homan said during a speech at the Heritage Foundation that ICE will be increasing worksite enforcement audits in the coming months. (Id.) U.S. immigration law prohibits employers from hiring any foreign worker that has not received a work permit from the federal government. (8 U.S.C. § 1232a)
"Unless you remove the magnets, as long as they think they can come here and have a U.S.-citizen kid and not get removed, they are going to keep coming. As long as they can get a job, they are going to try and come. So we are stepping up worksite enforcement," Director Homan said. (Heritage Foundation, Oct. 17, 2017)