While immigration has been a hot-button issue in the news for a while now, the focus so far has been on the way the White House is dealing with asylum-seekers and undocumented immigrants. However, the Trump administration’s policies have caused turmoil in in many parts of the immigration system, including student visas.
According to the New York Times, a backlog of visa applications has left hundreds of international students unable to pursue the internships they had planned for this summer. Many of these are graduate students are in the United States on visas that are only valid as long as they are taking classes, and when they were accepted for summer internship programs they had to request work authorization. The unexpected delay in getting authorization has forced students to scramble. Some have had to give up prestigious internships and go home for the summer. Others have had to delay internships and register for summer classes instead.
The U.S. Customs and Immigration Services says a surge in applications has created a small backlog, but the delays can be substantial.
One work authorization program known as Optional Practical Training allows students to work in their field of study for up to a year. They must apply for the program 90 days before their job is scheduled to begin. University officials say ordinarily the wait time for approval is less than 60 days, but the USCIS estimates that the waiting time now will be as much as five months.
Visa problems can be a nightmare for people who are just trying to pursue work and education opportunities in the United States. An immigration attorney can help people understand their rights and legal options, and represent them at hearings and more.