Changes are coming to a program that provides special immigrant visas to religious workers in Arizona, including both ministers and non-ministers. People who will be hired for a full-time, paid religious position can apply for immigration or permanent residence. However, while the program will continue for ministers and their spouses, a sunset is scheduled for non-minister religious workers. Prior to the sunset, non-ministers were limited to only 5,000 such visas per year while there is no cap on eligibility for ministers and their spouses.
Virtually all foreign nationals who wish to visit Arizona or any other U.S. state will now have to provide immigration authorities with their social media user names or handles. Updated visa application forms now ask for this information and list dozens of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit. Visa applicants who use platforms not listed on the new forms are expected to provide their usernames along with the names of the platforms. Immigration authorities do not require visa applicants to provide their social media passwords, but they do ask them for any email addresses and telephone numbers they have used during the last five years.
Residents in border states like Arizona will likely be aware that President Donald Trump has taken aggressive steps in recent weeks to address an immigration situation that he has described as a national emergency. In late May, Trump said that he would impose tariffs on goods imported from Mexico if the Mexican government does not take action to stop immigrant caravans at the Guatemalan border. Just a day later, immigration officials announced that measures designed to protect children seeking asylum in the United States are being curtailed.
Some people in Arizona who are waiting for a green card might wonder how divorce will affect their eligibility for one. For example, one woman, a U.S. citizen from the Philippines, had a 25-year-old unmarried son for whom she filed an immigrant petition in 2005. The son married in 2010.
Many businesses, highly skilled international graduate students and technical workers in Arizona are concerned about reports that an increasing number of H-1B visa petitions are being denied. The H-1B Employer Data Hub was criticized by many when it was introduced by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These critics saw it as a way for the administration to target negative attention toward businesses that make use of the program that allows companies to hire highly skilled international workers, typically in technical or scientific fields.
Immigrants in Arizona who have committed a crime in the past may be detained years later, according to a new ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. This reversed the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
The spouses of workers who are in Arizona under H-1B visas may lose the right to work in the United States under a proposed regulation sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget. Many couples in this position are already waiting a long time for their green cards. The combination of the H-1B visa for one and employment authorization documents for the other allows them to both work during this wait.
Arizona employers who wish to obtain an H-1B visa for foreign workers must prepare well before the filing season opens on April 1. Although the fiscal year in which those workers would be eligible for employment does not begin until Oct. 1, the volume of applications means the window of eligibility is usually only open for one week. The cap may be reached even sooner. In 2018, it took only five days.
Arizona residents are likely aware that several thousand migrants from Central America are gathered in Tijuana, Mexico, and plan to apply for asylum in the United States. Many of these migrants have tried to cross the border illegally at the San Ysidro port of entry, which has prompted the Trump administration to change the way asylum claims are processed. Department of Homeland Security officials have announced that asylum-seekers apprehended in the United States will now be returned to Mexico to wait until their petitions are reviewed.
Citizens of Arizona may be interested to learn that despite the Trump administration promising to streamline the legal immigration system, plenty of the decisions made by the administration have proven deleterious to the immigration courts, the latest of which has been the government shutdown and how it has been causing the cancellation of 20,000 cases every week. Experts believe that if the shutdown persists until the end of January, the number of backlogged cases during these five weeks could be more than 100,000.