The Trump administration is successfully using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to alter the U.S. system of legal immigration. New government data makes clear that these changes will significantly increase employment-based immigration at the expense of people in the family categories—and without any involvement by Congress.

On March 20, the administration suspended routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. And on April 22, the president signed the COVID-19 immigrant visa ban that targets our family-based and diversity categories with precision.

The immediate combined impact of both changes has been evident for months. The total number of visas–both immigrant and nonimmigrant–issued to noncitizens abroad declined by nearly 95% between January and May of this year. But the long-term impact has only recently been made clear by the end of the fiscal year (FY) and the Department of State’s October visa bulletin.

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Posted in: Immigration