Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state, in a mail to the US Embassies wrote that visitors wanting an American visa must follow in detail the plan they state in an interview with an immigration official for three months. If they do something which was not mentioned during their interview, it would be construed that they had intentionally lied.
With these rules, it would be very tough to obtain a new visa or renew one or get their status changed. In case these visitors are still in the US, they could risk being deported.
The New York Times quotes Tillerson’s message as saying that modifications of plans that take place after three months, though considered knotty, won’t be judged to be the outcome of ‘willful misrepresentation’. According to previous rules, altering plans were viewed as misrepresentation only for the first 30 days after their arrival in the US.
Diane Rish, associate director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said that if an individual, who arrives in the US as a tourist, has a relationship and ties the knot within three months and applies for a green card after it, it can be presumed that the application would be rejected.
The US issued 10 million visas in 2016 for the benefit of its tourism industry. The new rule, however, is not applicable to nationals of 38 countries, mostly in the EU and allies such as Japan, Australia and New Zealand, who do not require a visa or a detailed business, travel or educational plan before entering the US.
Most people from Asia, Africa, and Asia do require a visa. In addition, nationals of six primarily Muslim countries who have been banned from entering the US will not be impacted since they are not eligible for receiving a visa anyway.
The new rules are not only part of the Trump administration’s policy to fight illegal immigration, but also a way to limit legal immigration.
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for Federation for American Immigration Reform, said it was an effort to bar people from misusing the legal immigration process. He added the onus of evidence should lie on individuals who say that they have changed their plans.
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