Immigration Denials at Highest Ever Rates

While the number of petitions and applications filed with U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) has declined during the Trump administration, the number of denials issued by USCIS has increased sharply.

Analyzing government data, the Cato Institute found that overall in the first quarter of FY 2019 the rate of denials was up 80% compared to the first quarter of FY 2017, the last quarter of the prior administration.  The data examined included every type of petition for nonimmigrant or immigrant status, but excluded applications for naturalization to U.S. citizenship, and renewal applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), programs that federal courts have prevented the administration from terminating.

The Cato analysis revealed that the increase in denial rates varied by application type, but affected them all,  from petitions for immediate family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, to employer petitions for H-1B visa professionals or for temporary seasonal workers, to applications for asylum, and for work permission by those with legal status here.

The Cato Institute’s takeaway?  “The ultimate goal of this administration is simple: less immigration—illegal or legal.”