Sri Lanka Express

Greencard seekers will face in-person interview



SLE News
August 30, 2017


Changing immigration status from employment based visa to green card?

You will have to undergo an in-person interview with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as part of President Trump’s “extreme vetting” policy.

The new requirement, set to take effect Oct. 1, will apply to anyone moving from employment-based visa to lawful permanent residency. 

“This change reflects the Administration’s commitment to upholding and strengthening the integrity of our nation’s immigration system,” said Acting USCIS Director James W. McCament. “USCIS and our federal partners are working collaboratively to develop more robust screening and vetting procedures for individuals seeking immigration benefits to reside in the United States.”

The added interview workload is expected to extend wait times for green card applications. As of June 30, the office was processing applications received more than six months earlier, according to the agency.

Interviews are already part of immigration process under the law, and conducting them was standard policy up to a decade ago. But in the last 10 years, the requirement has been routinely waived to shorten wait times for applicants.

Visa holders who are family members of refugees or people who receive asylum will also be required to undergo an in-person interview when they apply for provisional status, a stage that precedes receiving a green card, according to USCIS.  USCIS is planning an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types.

In fiscal year 2015, Sri Lankans obtaining lawful permanent residency from these categories totaled 1,746. 

Nauru, Manus Island Tamils could be denied asylum in U.S. due to LTTE ties

SLE News
July 22, 2017

More than 100 Tamil asylum-seekers on Nauru and Manus Island are likely to be excluded from Australia’s refugee deal with the US due to their links with the LTTE which remains on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.

According to Australian media a large number of Tamil asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus are expected to be denied entry to the United States under sweeping anti-terror laws.
























There are roughly 240 Tamils on Nauru and Manus Island, from where America has agreed to take up to 1,250 refugees.The deal to take refugees from Manus Island and Nauru was brokered between Australia and the US in the closing weeks of the Obama administration.    In return, Australia agreed to resettle refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The swap will help Australia close both Manus and Nauru detention centers which are expensive to run. The company contracted to provide services in the Manus Island and Nauru centers is not expected to renew its contract with the Australian government beyond October.

Soon after taking office, President Trump promised to study what he called a "dumb deal": "Do you believe it? The Obama administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!" he tweeted.





















However, in April, Vice President Mike Pence told Australian media his government didn’t “admire” the deal but would still honor it.

Pence said the new administration would honor the agreement but offered the significant caveat of “subject to the results of the vetting process that now apply to all refugees considered for admission to the USA”. There is no guarantee on how many, if any, refugees will be accepted.

“President Trump has made it clear that we’ll honor the agreement. That doesn’t mean we admire the agreement. Frankly looking back on the past administration, the president has never been shy about expressing frustration with other international agreements.”

Pence said the new administration would honor the agreement but offered the significant caveat of “subject to the results of the vetting process that now apply to all refugees considered for admission to the USA”.

There is no guarantee on how many, if any, refugees will be accepted.


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This photo of Sri Lankan Tamil Kabil Kumar waving the LTTE flag during a march in Melbourne, Australia in support of asylum seekers was taken by Charlotte Grieve and appeared in The Citizen.