A new analysis for the Cato Institute has found that the Department of Homeland Security rejected 11.3 percent of requests to the immigration agency, which include those for work permits, travel documents and status applications, based on family reunification, employment and other grounds, in the first nine months of 2018.
This is the highest rate of denial on record and means that by the end of the year, the United States government will have rejected around 620,000 people — about 155,000 more than in 2016.
This increase in denials cannot be credited to an overall rise in applications. In fact, the total number of applications so far this year is 2 percent lower than in 2016. It could be that the higher denial rate is also discouraging some people from applying at all.
In 2018, the D.H.S. turned away 10 percent of applicants for employment authorization documents compared with 6 percent in 2016, and it rejected applications for advanced parole — which gives temporary residents the authorization to travel internationally and return — at a clip of 18 percent, more than doubling the rate in 2016. Even skilled workers are being rejected at higher rates. The denial rate for petitions for temporary foreign workers shot to 23 percent from 17 percent. The application for permanent workers saw denials rise to 9 percent from 6 percent.
The largest increase in the denial rate for family-sponsored applications, for petitions for fiancés, rose to 21 percent from 14 percent.
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