Mar 4, 2019

Denials rising for work, family and student immigrant visas

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

While President Trump has focused the nation's immigration debate at the border, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the State Department have denied more work, family and student visa applications.

By the numbers: The number of immigrants seeking permanent residence in the U.S. who were found "ineligible" increased by 39% between fiscal year 2017 and fiscal year 2018, according to an analysis of new State Department data by the National Foundation for American Policy. The number of denials of temporary permits — such as H-1B visas — also jumped by 5%.

  • Over the past year, the number of approved student visas declined, as well as visas for Chinese business and tourism, immediate family members, and fiancés, according to the analysis.
  • There have been 4 times as many potential immigrants found "ineligible" under the State Department's public charge rule, which prevents applicants who are deemed likely to rely on public safety net programs from being granted visas. A proposal by DHS would expand the use of this rule against immigrants.
  • 60% of H-1B applications completed in the first quarter of this fiscal year had first been returned with "Requests For Evidence," compared to less less than half in the same quarter last year, according to USCIS data.

What's next: Immigrants can try to prove their eligibility after having their application refused. Many managed to do so successfully last year, but it means the process takes much longer.

The bottom line: The Trump administration is not just taking steps to cut back on immigration at the border, it is also making it harder for workers, family members and international students to legally come to the U.S.

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Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to keep his momentum after winning contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hoped to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates were just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They spoke, sometimes over each other, about health care, Russian interference in the election, foreign policy the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race.

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4 takeaways from the South Carolina debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, makes a point during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders listens. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The 10th Democratic debate was billed as the most consequential of the primary thus far, but Tuesday night's high-stakes affair was at times awkward and unfocused as moderators struggled to rein in candidates desperate to make one last splash before Saturday's primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

The big picture: After cementing himself as the Democratic favorite with a sweeping win in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire as the front-runner for the first time on the debate stage. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the ballot for the first time next Tuesday, was a progressive foil once again, but he appeared more prepared after taking a drubbing at the Nevada debate.

Coronavirus spreads to Africa as U.S. soldier in South Korea tests positive

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

A 23-year-old American soldier stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea has tested positive to the novel coronavirus, as the outbreak spreads to more countries.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 80,000 others, mostly in mainland China. Public health officials confirmed Tuesday the U.S. has 57 people with the novel coronavirus, mostly those repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

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