As immigrants living in Kentucky are well aware, any change to one’s immigration status can be time-consuming and complex. Under the current administration, all signs point to the process becoming even longer.
As The Atlantic notes, there is no single process for immigration in the United States, and factors including country of origin can vastly change wait times. For those living in the U.S. for work or study on a non-immigrant visa, adjusting immigration status for permanent residence is typically a years-long process and it is not available to all foreign students or workers. Those who came to the U.S. legally maintained a legal immigration status the entire duration of their stay in the country and did not obtain work unless they were allowed to do so have passed the very lowest threshold for adjustment of immigration status. People who have been granted permanent residence status have the option to try to become a U.S. citizen or they can stay in the country under their current status indefinitely as a green card holder.
However, the path to permanent residence has become more difficult. As CNN reports, the Trump administration has decided that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services will require more people applying for green cards to go through an official interview. While some applicants were always obligated to go through the interview process, many applicants had their interviews waived depending on the category, reserving the interview times for only those considered high-risk. The result of this requirement is likely that wait times for green card applicants will likely grow significantly. The directive goes into place on October 1, 2017.