Trump administration’s next target: student and visitor overstays

8/24/2018, 10:57 a.m.
The Trump administration is pushing full steam ahead with its immigration policy to essentially “clean house.”
Donald Trump Wikipedia

The Trump administration is pushing full steam ahead with its immigration policy to essentially “clean house.” Now the target appears to be students whose visas might have ended, as well as those who came in on visitors’ visas and stayed on.

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security released its “Fiscal Year 2017 Entry/Exit Overstay Report,” which identified all overstays, including of foreign-born students, from across the world. The number was approximately 700,000, with 45,000 alone from the Caribbean region according to a News Americas report.

The message seemed to be clear—that these immigrants are the next target in the Trump-Miller xenophobic plan.

Aug. 9, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published a revised final policy memorandum related to unlawful presence of student visa holders.

Under the revised final policy memorandum, effective Aug. 9, 2018, holders of the F-1 and M-1 visas, or non-immigration student visas, which allow international students to study and live full-time in the U.S., were essentially put on notice.

Any F-1 or M-1 visa holder who falls out of status will now have a five-month window to reapply and get it reinstated. However, if the reinstatement application is importunely denied, the student will consider to be undocumented on the day after the denial and can be rounded up and deported if the student does not leave voluntarily.

The USCIS statement warned, “It is incumbent on the non-immigrant to voluntarily leave the United States to avoid accruing more unlawful presence.”

The administration will also apply the same rules to student holders of the J-1, or exchange visitor, visa. The Department of State, which administers the program, will also need to reinstate the visa, or if it’s denied, the J-1 visa holder will be considered undocumented and should leave the country or become deportable.

L. Francis Cissna, the new director of the USCIS also reiterated the Trump administration’s mantra about “illegal immigration”

“USCIS remains dedicated to protecting the integrity of our nation’s immigration system and ensuring the faithful execution of our laws,” Cissna said in a statement. “People who overstay or violate the terms of their visas should not remain in the United States. Foreign students who are no longer properly enrolled in school are violating the terms of their student visa and should be held accountable.”

The announcement comes as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Thursday, Aug. 16, sought to speed up the deportation of illegal immigrants, telling immigration judges they should only postpone cases in removal proceedings “for good cause shown.”

Sessions, in an interim order that was criticized by some lawyers, said the “good-cause” standard “limits the discretion of immigration judges and prohibits them from granting continuances for any reason or no reason at all.”

But unlike the federal judiciary system, U.S. immigration courts fall under the Department of Justice and the attorney general can intervene. Sessions, obviously under the direction of the White House, is trying to find every loophole in the law to enforce the “zero tolerance” policy being pushed by the administration.

Blinded by xenophobia, the administration is kicking out people who can contribute to the development of this country after being educated here at U.S. universities for at least five years.

How dumb and shortsighted is that? No need to answer; just read El Trumpeto’s Twitter feed.

The writer is CMO at Hard Beat Communications, Inc. which owns the brands NewsAmericasNow, CaribPRWire and InvestCaribbeanNow.