President Donald Trump’s State Department “wasted” an opportunity to temporarily halt family chain migration through a foreign fiancée visa program, according to a leading immigration expert.
Center for Immigration Studies Fellow David North says the Trump State Department could have barred foreign nationals coming to the U.S. on the K-1 visa, generally for foreign brides of American men, from the six terrorist-sanctioned nations included in the President’s travel ban, but instead, excluded them from the ban.
For a few minutes, it looked like the Department of State had done the right thing with the oft-abused K visa (for fiancées of citizens); it initially declared that the six-nation travel ban should cover aliens (largely women) arriving with this visa, and then, a few minutes later, State decided that the fiancées fell into the category of those “who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship” here.
Earlier in the week the Supreme Court, in an interim ruling on the Trump travel ban, said that those with such a claim could continue to come to the United States, and that others, such as tourists, from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, could not. The justices left it up to the executive to define who had such a claim, and State ruled — eventually — that the fiancées were not to be included in the ban.
That was too bad, because the frequently abused visa is totally needless.
San Bernardino Islamic terrorist Tashfeen Malik entered the U.S. on the K-1 visa, as North points out, but that still was not enough for Trump’s State Department to at least temporarily halt fiancées migrating from the six Muslim-majority nations.
If the Trump State Department had included K-1 visa-holders in the travel ban, North said the administration would have been able to conduct a “real life study” to see whether or not the fiancée visa is abused and if it is only being used as a way for constant family chain migration:
What the State Department had last week, but did not realize it, was one of the laboratory situations that one finds rarely in government — in this case, a chance to check out the impact on migration of the elimination of the K visa in the six nations. Bear in mind that something over 25 percent of our immigration visas, generally, result from weddings, and those weddings often lead to more chain migration.
What would happen to the total marriage-created inflow of aliens from those six nations if one of the visa opportunities were removed (i.e., the K visa). Would that flow continue at or near full volume, as the true lovers moved around the lack of a K-visa, or would the change in the rules reduce, perhaps sharply, the arrival of new brides and grooms from those nations?
And, if there were to be a sharp reduction in the arrivals, what would that tell us about the utility and the integrity of the K visa?
Though Trump has been clear in his opposition of the current U.S. legal immigration system based in chain migration, rather than merit-based immigration, the GOP-controlled Congress has yet to pass any legislation to majorly reform the system.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the meat of Trump’s travel ban, allowing it to take affect for at least 90 days while they are set to rule on the executive order later this year.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.