Illegal entries plummet at the Mexican border
The LA Times reports large declines in apprehensions at the Mexican border: “In February, a total of 18,762 migrants were caught as they crossed or attempted to cross the Southwest border, compared with 31,578 in January, 43,255 in December and 47,210 in November. The number of people who presented themselves at ports of entry and were deemed inadmissible dropped to 4,808, compared with 10,899 in January, 15,176 in December and 16,153 in November.
“The drop was stark at the busiest stretch of the border — the Rio Grande Valley sector – which in recent years has seen a surge in families and unaccompanied children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. About 280 people a day were apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley in February, compared with 502 in January and 755 in December.”
A Border Patrol officer told the Times that the Border Patrol “We’re deporting people expeditiously, and just the fact that we’re doing that and the fact the administration is messaging that, they have quit coming in the same numbers.”
Suspension of rapid temporary skilled worker visa approvals
The American Immigration Council reports a disruption in fast-track processing of skilled worker temporary processing:
“The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced it will halt premium processing of H-1B visa petitions on April 3, for up to six months. Through the H-1B visa category, employers can petition, for a $1,225 fast, 15 day review of temporary worker applications for highly educated professionals to work in “specialty occupations” that require at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent.
“This decision will not only disrupt the plans of thousands of foreign nationals who are recent graduates of U.S. universities, workers and businesses, but also could have a significant impact on the fee-funded agency’s revenue.
“Most non-premium types of H-1B petitions are currently averaging six to eight months for non-premium processing. USCIS claims it is making this change in order to sort through a backlog of H1-B petitions and decrease processing times overall.”
This change in policy greatly complicates extensions of current temporary H-IB and student visas because petitions to extend visas, often done through premium processing, must be acted on within a time limit, such as 240 days, after which any application becomes void.