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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.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

29 mins ago - Health

CDC panel recommends Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up

Photo: Marco Bello/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A key panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for people 65 years old and older, as well as those at high risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: The approval is the near-final step in making the booster shots available to tens of millions of Americans, and comes a day after the FDA approved Pfizer boosters for the two groups. CDC director Rochelle Walensky is expected to accept the recommendation.

DHS temporarily suspends use of horse patrol in Del Rio

U.S. Border Patrol agents watch as Haitian immigrant families cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into Del Rio, Texas on Sept. 23, 2021. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday temporarily suspended the use of horse patrol in Del Rio, Texas a DHS spokesperson confirmed.

Why it matters: The suspension comes after images showing border patrol agents whipping at and charging their horses at migrants surfaced earlier in the week, prompting widespread criticism of the Biden administration's handling of the crisis at the border.

Southwest drought is worst on record, NOAA finds

In a stark new report, a team of NOAA and independent researchers found the 2020-2021 drought across the Southwest is the worst in the instrumental record, which dates to 1895.

Why it matters: They also concluded that global warming is making it far more severe, primarily by increasing average temperatures, which boosts evaporation.