The Trump administration is set to deny an even higher number of visa applicants who live abroad and in the United States and who are believed to be using too many public services.
The administration is planning to further expand rules to disqualify these applicants. Data by a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank, the National Foundation for American Policy, shows that over the past two fiscal years, visa denials have increased by 40 percent.
ABC News informs that in fiscal 2018, 13,450 visa applicants were denied because the government determined they might pose too much of a strain on public resources, while the year before the number of such denials was 3,237.
Under past administrations, the key factors for granting a visa were a satisfying income and having a sponsor already in the United States, but the current administration is looking into other factors such as age, health and education.
The use of assistance programs or even the likelihood a person might use them is another key factor in the application.
“It’s what we’ve been calling the invisible wall. One way to slow immigration is to just clog up the system,” said Jeffrey Gorsky, former chief legal adviser for visas at the U.S. State Department.
However, according to the National Foundation for American Policy, President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order on “extreme vetting” had a major influence on these visa denials. The State Department said that executive order prompted the policy change.
Trump also recently commented that he didn’t “want to have anyone coming in that’s on welfare,” causing outrage among the group’s members.
“The President’s recent comments underscore the discrimination behind this change. This is another example of the Trump Administration using fear tactics to try to deter immigrants and their families from accessing public services critical to their health and well-being,” said Karianne Jones, a Democracy Forward lawyer.
The non-partisan Migration Policy Institute pointed out that many public assistance programs in the U.S. are already off-limits to new immigrants and that most of the non-citizens don’t have access to healthcare or many other services.