As described in this previous MeBIC post, the Department of Homeland Security published a proposed rule change on October 10, 2018 that would upend decades of settled policy and result in denials of residency to an estimated hundreds of thousands of immigrants annually. Public comments were due by December 10, 2018.
MeBIC Board members Mark St. Germain of St. German Collins and Cathy Lee of Lee International, were joined by Maine business owners Daniel Freund of Common Census, and Liz Greason of Maine Intercultural Communications Consultants on a public comment opposing the rule submitted on December 7, 2018 by 120 business executives nationwide, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Additional MeBIC partners submitted their own individual comments.
While the proposed rule change purports to apply to all who hope to enter or become permanent residents of the United States, its impact would fall squarely on those immigrating as immediate family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Family-based immigration would likely be slashed by at least half.
Two-thirds of immigrants to the nation, and to Maine, are immediate family immigrants. In Maine, if family-based immigration were halved, the state would have had net population loss, instead of the gain of 3118 persons actually experienced from 2010 to 2016, as we’ve explained here. The proposed rule change would not only harm families and defy our values and centuries of immigration tradition, but also damage our economy by throttling a critical and reliable source of new Maine residents when the State’s population is rapidly aging and deaths outpace births.
While the administration may not change course in response to the more than 150,000 comments submitted opposing the proposed rule change, the comments will be helpful in any litigation to block application of the rule change if it is ultimately finalized.