As the second year of the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end, immigration continues to be a controversial and uncertain issue in the United States. Most of the extreme, and in some cases unconstitutional, executive orders signed by former President Donald Trump against immigration are gone, but the controversial “Remain in Mexico” practice related to asylum seekers was reactivated just a few days before Christmas 2021.
For 2022, many Americans, immigrants, advocates, and law firms offering immigration services in San Diego, CA, would like to see resolute measures with regard to immigration. They know comprehensive reform isn’t feasible at this time. Nonetheless, they hope to see improvements that reflect security, offer opportunity, and uphold the American way of life. Here are some of the proposals and measures they can look forward to in 2022.
Greater Due Process in Asylum Procedures
The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT), will be considered as part of the procedures involving the review of asylum requests. The proposal essentially seeks to direct immigration judges to hold hearings prior to rejecting asylum applications or ordering the removal of applicants. The goal of these hearings would be to evaluate statements about the credible fears asserted by foreigners opposed to being deported to their home countries. This would entail an examination of evidence presented by asylum applicants. Should this rule be approved, immigration law firms that represent individuals seeking asylum will have more opportunities to protect their clients.
Improved Immigration Application Backlogs
At any given time prior to the pandemic, approximately 100 million foreigners in the U.S. and abroad were waiting to hear from government agencies about the status of their immigration, travel, and employment petitions. This number sharply increased after March 2020 because of lockdown restrictions that were imposed as part of public health mandates. In 2021, nearly 10,000 skilled foreign nurses recruited to treat COVID-19 patients waited for months to be interviewed by the State Department. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reported fewer than 29,000 interviews were scheduled among more than 490,000 applicants eligible for adjustment of immigration status, but this is an improvement over 2020. The State Department and Homeland Security have been able to evaluate existing application review processes, and they’ve been able to eliminate certain snags and bottlenecks. Such evaluations are bound to continue in 2022.
Additional H-2B Visas
The number of H-2B non-agricultural temporary work visas has been increased by 20,000 for the first time in the history of this visa program. This measure was quickly implemented upon the direction of the White House because of the worker shortage that developed in 2021. Employers who seek to sponsor H-2B workers under this expanded cap have until March 2022 to hire them.
Personal Appearance Waivers
With the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant spreading at an alarming rate in December 2021, the State Department quickly moved to give consular and immigration personnel abroad discretion in terms of waiving interviews and personal appearances. The State Department could extend this measure in 2022 or even make it permanent for some foreign visa applications.
If you have questions about changes to immigration procedures or laws and how they may affect you and your family, contact trustworthy San Diego immigration lawyers. The attorneys at KS Visa Law have vast experience with every aspect of immigration law, and they’re the attorneys to call on when you need the most up-to-date information about immigration regulations and how to navigate the immigration court system. Call KS Visa Law today at 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.