What is the new immigration law for 2020?

During Trump’s administration, there have been many changes to immigration laws and processes, with a clear priority to make it harder for non-US citizens to immigrate to the US or gain citizenship. Although many of Trump’s proposals have received large opposition and federal courts have halted some proposals, there have still been some significant immigration law changes already in 2020, including:

Price increases for immigration processes

This year the USCIS announced a number of cost hikes across a range of immigration processes, including a huge 83% increase for applying for US citizenship through naturalization. The previous fee of $640 goes up to $1,170 making it unaffordable for many people that had been planning on applying for naturalization.

Petitions for employment authorizations are another section of the immigration processes that have seen significant changes. The Form I-765 application fee is subject to a 20% price hike and the Form I-751 (removing conditions on permanent residence through marriage) is set to increase by 28%.

Changes to the citizenship test

The test that permanent residents must take when applying for citizenship has been made much harder. For example, immigrants must be able to demonstrate a good understanding of the English language, both in terms of verbal communication and written English. The test also requires applicants to have a knowledge of the US government and know some details about US history.

Online immigration benefits

2020 is also the year for some digital progress in terms of immigration processes, with more immigration benefits moving over from paper to digital applications, which should help to streamline the application process. These changes apply to the I-485, I-765, I-131, I-129 and I-589 applications.

Denial of Green Card related to "public charge"

USCIS changed the public charge regulations, following several federal court injunctions. From applications filed on 24.02.2020 and afterwards, those deemed to become dependent on the government in the future could be denied a green card on account of public charge.

Barriers for asylum seekers applying for work permits

Asylum seekers hoping to enter the US have been affected by a number of changes, including the introduction of a $50 application fee for asylum. There have also been changes regarding the waiting period and eligibility for the work permit application process. The 30-day deadline for USCIS to rule on permit applications has been removed and any illegal asylum seeker applicants are denied permits. The new rule also involves forbidding applications from any applicants that have travelled through a third country on their way to the US and who have not applied for asylum there.

These are just five of the areas of immigration that have been heavily affected by changes in 2020, whilst there has also been a number of changes imposed in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, such as suspending immigration applications.

There have also been changes regarding non-essential travel over the Mexico and Canada border, whilst Trump also updated the travel ban policy to amend the countries that this affected. The have been many immigration changes already in 2020 and there is likely to be many more before the end of the year too.









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