Pardon our sabbatical, but it’s been a bit of slow summer for immigration news.
Overall, visa appointment delays at consulates worldwide early in the summer continued to delay cases as the consulates tried to catch up, this combined with reduced summer holiday staffing at many consulates and the desire of many foreign nationals in the US to travel and obtain a visa during the summer meant frustrations for many. This abated by summer’s end though and students and professors seeking to enter by September and H-1B workers coming for October seemed to not be too severely impacted.
Family detention facilities on the Southern border continued to make immigration headlines with their poor conditions, long waits, and limited access to counsel. Immigration attorneys from around the country, including several funded by my local New England chapter, travelled and provided much needed legal assistance during the summer.
It has also been sobering to see the headlines out of Europe on the vast numbers of people seeking refuge in the European Union. As many smaller and less economically advantaged countries there struggled to cope with this flood of displaced persons, it was a stark reminder that the United States’ struggles to formulate immigration policy in the face of large population displacements by politics and poverty are not unique.
Amidst these global issues, our government has struggled to find a middle ground which would allow them to fund necessary federal programs and avert a shutdown. Earlier this week a continuing resolution was signed by the President which will fund the government (including numerous immigration programs and departments) through mid-December. As Speaker Boehner departs, we all are anxious about what these funding negotiations will look like again come December. Stay tuned.
By far the biggest newsmaker going into the fall was what has now been termed the “visa bulletin debacle”. In attempts to assist foreign nationals waiting in lengthy visa bulletin lines, the government announced their intention to allow a large number of individuals to file applications early, only to “roll back” the eligibility dates after further recalculation. Further details on this “debacle” can be found in our separate post.
Keep tuned in for further updates as the fall progresses and thanks for reading!