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Examples of “Extreme Vetting” in Employment-Based Immigration Examples of “Extreme Vetting” in Employment-Based Immigration

Examples of “Extreme Vetting” in Employment-Based Immigration

In early 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order calling for several agencies to implement heightened screening and vetting of all applicants for immigration benefits, from both within and outside the United States. This and other Executive Orders have impacted legal immigration and the employment-based system through further slowing of overall processing times, rescission of USCIS’ deference memo and dramatic increases in issuance of Requests for Evidence, Notices of Intent to Deny and denials generally. While these circumstances remain ongoing, there are some new examples potentially impacting applicants for employment-based immigration benefits:

Public Charge

A proposed rule is expecting to take effect soon that expands foreign nationals deemed ineligible for green card in the United States based on an expanded definition of “public charge” (those whose income levels suggest past or prospective use of certain public benefits). Even in absence of the anticipated rule change (and in spite of anticipated litigation on the proposed rule), the federal government has broad authority under existing law to interpret who is likely to become a public charge in the future. All applicants for green card are strongly encouraged to discuss their past or potential use of any and all public benefits with qualified immigration counsel prior to seeking adjustment of status to permanent residence.

Social Media

Beginning in early summer 2019, foreign nationals seeking visas to enter or return to the United States have been required to disclose their social media platforms used in the last 5 years, as well as their usernames and additional personal contact information (previously used email addresses and phone numbers). This information is another tool being used by the federal government to screen visa applicants through publicly available online content. Passwords are not required to be disclosed.  While federal litigation is already pending on the government’s social media surveillance, the Department of Homeland Security has recently published another proposed rule calling for collection of social media information from applicants for immigration benefits.

If you have questions regarding these or other aspects of U.S. immigration law and policy, please see Jenifer M. Brown or Christl Glier.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.
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