There are 34 million immigrants in the USA at the moment, and these are only lawful ones. Another one million people are those unauthorized who have only temporary permission to live in the country.

The USA is a desirable place for people who, for whatever reason, decide or are forced to leave their own homes; it offers possibilities. And as there are many different reasons for which immigrants come to the USA, there are also various immigration programs.

It’s not perfect (no law is), but it’s also constantly changing, which can be confusing for both Americans and foreigners. Fortunately, there are places like Lightman Law Firm where you can follow all the changes in the immigration law or ask for legal advice about approaching the whole process. So what are those existing policies and how are they changing?

Family-based immigration

Thanks to this program, you can apply for a green card if you already have a spouse, parent, child or sibling with U.S. citizenship. Sometimes it’s enough if they have a green card, but these are rare cases.

The problem is that every country can hold no more than 7% of all green cards each year, so if there’s a lot of people applying in your country, you can wait for years. President Trump’s administration issued legislation that would prioritize immigrants with education and certain skills over family members.

Refugee admissions

This program is meant to protect those who escape prosecution in their home countries. At the beginning of his administration, Trump froze refugee admissions. They were resumed gradually, country by country, but many cases were examined one by one, which was much slower and prevented some refugees from entering the U.S.

Employment-based green cards

In 2017 137,855 people got green cards; these were foreign workers and their families. Trump’s administration aims at increasing these numbers by accepting more immigrants, but only with certain skills and to the detriment of different programs. They would be prioritized not only over family-based immigrants but also over immigrant investors who put their money into the U.S.-based companies.

Diversity visas

This program is widely known as a visa lottery and thanks to it, each year about 50,000 people receive green cards. Its main point is to diversify the immigrant population in the USA, so the visas go only to the most underrepresented nations. Trump’s proposition aims at the complete elimination of this program.

H-1B visas

These are visas for high-skilled foreign workers and allow them to stay in the U.S. for three to six years, with a possible extension. Since Trump became the president, the denial rate in this visa program has increased. The current administration also plans to be more strict about granting work permits to the H-1B holders’ spouses.

Temporary Permissions

This program aims at helping those people who entered the U.S. under unusual circumstances and seek a way to stay, although they can’t gain permanent residence in the future. Although there aren’t many illegal immigrants who were granted these permissions, Trump’s administration still plans to limit this number even more. DACA and Temporary Protected Status are two examples of these permissions:

  • DACA helped those who came or were brought to the U.S. before the age of 16. Trump froze that program. The decision of the Supreme Court on the matter of cancellation is expected to be announced in 2020, though the administration doesn’t have to accept any appliers during that time.
  • Temporary Protected Status can be granted to those for whom the return to their home countries may be dangerous because of wars, persecution or natural disasters. Trump’s administration wants to limit the number of countries in which citizens can apply to this program only to Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen.

The USA has been seen as the promised land or the safe harbour for a long time now. The country needed to regulate its immigration law, but every president’s administration has its own plans and changes in mind. These days, the number of different programs and proposed changes make the life of immigrants in the U.S. more difficult than before, as many of them are unsure about their future.