Court Blocks Trump’s Attempt to Deny US Immigrant Visas Based on Health Care Affordability
Donald Trump has introduced a number of changes to the US immigration process since coming into his role as President and the latest change he tried to introduce was to deny visas for immigrants that are unable to afford health care.
On November 3 2019, Trump issued a proclamation instructing consular officers to deny any immigrant visa applications where the applicant cannot provide evidence that they have health care insurance in place, or that they have ‘the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs’. His plans required immigrants to provide proof that they would have health insurance set up within a month of entering the US.
However, before the policy was able to take effect, Judge Michael Simon of the US District Court in Oregon submitted a temporary restraining order to block the President’s plans. A plaintiff on the case commented:
“Today’s decision highlights the urgency of blocking this health care ban before it causes irreparable damage to our community and those we serve.
”Trump’s plans follow a number of other changes he has made that have been seen as controversial by many concerned parties across the world. Trump has introduced changes that have led to children being detained and separated from their parents as well as using force to prevent asylum seekers crossing the southern border.
Trump’s Immigration Changes
Trump’s presidential campaign was heavily focused on introducing stronger immigration controls. He famously claimed that he would build a wall on the US-Mexico border to prevent immigrants from entering the US.
He introduced a travel ban to stop seven mostly Muslim countries from getting visas (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen), with his efforts facing legal challenges to block them. He has received a backlash from many powerful US CEOs for his immigration stances.
In 2018 he announced that he intended to remove the right of citizenship for people born in the US to foreign nationals. Trump’s 2017 Reforming American Immigration for Strong Economy Act was set up with the intention to reduce the number of green cards by 50%.
In 2019 there were several high-profile ICE ( Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids which led to mass arrests of workers in Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi. They were mainly targeting agricultural processing plants, with one raid leading to the arrest of 680 people.
The refugee program cap has reduced from 45,000 in 2018 to 18,000 as proposed for 2020.
Trump and H-1B visa limits
For the last two years, the H-1B specialty occupation visas have been reduced in length from the previous usual limit of three years down to a few weeks or months at a time. This means that a lot of extra work is involved in applying for and approving the extensions of H-1B visas, which has proven to be another highly challenged change from Trump. Businesses have complained that this has resulted in them losing a lot of money in wasted time and legal costs.
Good news for anti-Trump voters as he is impeached
This week it would seem like his presidency could be coming to an end, with him being impeached by the House of Representatives. He is now due to go to trial to see whether he remains in office. The charges brought against him are abuse of power and obstructing Congress, with almost all Democrats voting for the charges and all Republicans voted against.
President Trump’s former aide Anthony Scaramucci has described Trump as a ‘lawless criminal’ who should be removed from The White House. Time may well be running out for Trump, following his many challenged ideas and changes he has tried to introduce. If he does get thrown out of office, the next president could have a completely different attitude towards the immigration situation.
Current advice for travelling to the US
If you are planning on travelling to the US in the near future , you should keep up to date with any changes that are introduced, as the policies have been changed several times over recent years.
Currently, if you are a citizen of one of the countries that are in the Visa Waiver Program, you are able to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). This means that you do not need to apply for a full visa, provided that you are visiting the US for tourism or business purposes and that your trip is no longer than 90 days. Applying for an ESTA is simple and can be completed via an online form within around ten minutes.
If you are a citizen from a country that is not within the VWP, then you will need to check the process with your country’s US Embassy and see if you are eligible to apply for the relevant type of visa.