US visa seekers may have to wait longer after new Trump order

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WASHINGTON, June 29 (APP): People seeking nonimmigrant visas
for the United States will have to wait longer after an
executive order signed by President Trump last week
that rescinded instructions by his predecessor Barack Obama to speed
up visa processing.
The new directive by President Trump takes out the provision of
a 2012 order signed by President Obama that had instructed
the State Department to “ensure that 80 percent of
non-immigrant visa applications are interviewed within three
weeks of receipt of application,” a report by online magazine The
Hill said on Thursday.
The order is the latest in a string of measures introduced
by President Trump, since he took over, to tighten immigration
rules. The new rule will affect people from more than 150 other nations.
The Supreme Court this week allowed the Trump administration to
go ahead with its “travel ban” that will disallow people from
six Muslim majority countries from entering the United States. That
ban will be effective from June 29, various reports said.
The court, however, stated that foreign nationals from
Syria, Sudan Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen can enter the country
if they have a “credible claim of bona fide relationship” in
the U.S. Otherwise, they are temporarily banned for 90 days or 120
days if they’re a refugee coming from any country in the world.
President Trump has said that his immigration measures,
which included beefing up “extreme vetting procedures,” were meant
to keep the American people safe.
Under the new directive, that took away the instruction to
process cases within three weeks of filing applications for
visas, could significantly extend wait times for people seeking to
travel to the United States, the Hill report said.
A White House official, as quoted by the report said that this
was a very straightforward step that removes an arbitrary
requirement and ensures the State Department has the needed
discretion to make real-world security determinations.
According to the report, the move had aroused concerns
among business people and immigration lawyers who say that it will discourage people from travelling to the United States. The number
of those travelling to the United States has already dropped,
according to latest data. The total count of nonimmigrant
visas issued dropped from 907,166 in March to 735,004 in April.
Last week’s executive order directs the Departments of
State and Homeland Security to develop a new implementation plan
for visa processing.
“The State Department has instructed embassy and consular
officials to toughen security screening of visa applicants
by identifying ‘populations warranting increased scrutiny’ and instituting mandatory social media checks of people who have been
in territory controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq in Syria,”
the report added.