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Arrivals: This Week in Immigration News (10.29.18 – 11.02.18)

arrivals 9.17.2018 to 9.21.2018

THE STORY: President Trump said this week that he wanted to sign an executive order to end birthright citizenship. There is a legal consensus that such a move would be unconstitutional and it is highly unlikely Trump could implement it.

THE CONTEXT: The U.S. is one of around 30 countries with birthright citizenship, meaning that people born within the United States are granted full citizenship. Legal scholars believe that an executive order could not change America’s practice of birthright citizenship since it is enshrined in the 14th Amendment. The amendment states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” To change that amendment there would have to be a constitutional amendment which would take an overwhelming majority of either Congress or state legislatures.

WHAT’S NEXT: If Trump signs an executive order getting rid of birthright citizenship, a lawsuit will likely be filed and a federal court will issue an injunction, blocking the executive order temporarily. The case will likely make it to the Supreme Court where it’s unlikely justices will uphold Trump’s executive order and change such a major legal precedent.

Read further in this explainer from Vox.

THE STORY: Wait times for U.S. citizenship applications have extended up to two years under the Trump administration.

THE CONTEXT: While asylum proceedings can often take years, naturalization in the U.S. has historically been a quicker process. Wait time for U.S. citizenship applications used to take around 6 months, but now the average wait time is up to more than 10 months. In some parts of Texas it can now take up to two years. Immigration advocates have filed a lawsuit questioning whether the delays could be a form of voter suppression in the lead up to the 2018 midterms.

WHAT’S NEXT: It’s unclear whether application wait times will continue increasing or not. In the meantime, immigration activists say immigrants seeking to apply for citizenship should apply now if they are hoping to vote in the 2020 election.

Read further in this AP article.

THE STORY: U.S. officials released new data on foreign students which showed that more students from abroad are deciding to stay and work in America.

THE CONTEXT: Along with the trend of more foreign students choosing to work in the U.S., the data also revealed that participation in the Optional Training Program (OPT) has markedly increased. The number of OPT trainees has doubled in the last three years. OPT allows foreign students to work in the U.S. for a year after they have graduated. Students who graduate with majors in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) are eligible to extend their stays by an additional two years as part of the STEM OPT program.

WHAT’S NEXT: Although more foreign students may be staying in the U.S. to work, scrutiny on work visa applications is increasing. Immigration officials tripled requests for more information on employers’ H-1B visa petitions at the end of the 2017 fiscal year.

Read further in this article from the Wall Street Journal (Paywall).

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