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Laid Off Diversity Visa Holders Struggle During Pandemic

Under The Diversity Visa program tens of thousands of potential immigrants literally rely on the luck of the draw to get the opportunity to legally live and work in the US, without sponsorship from an employer or family member. That program has been temporarily discontinued by the Trump Administration because of the COVID pandemic. But for some who applied for and received diversity visas late last year, their search for the American Dream has been difficult. VOA's Vina Mubtadi has more.
Camera: Vina Mubtadi

Waiting for Asylum, Cuban Doctor Saves Lives at US Border

Brownsville-Matamoros camp is a temporary residence for Central Americans, Haitians, Cubans and Venezuelans who are waiting for their asylum appointments that could grant them entry into the U.S. Dairon Elizondo Rojas, a Cuban doctor, became a camp doctor while seeking his asylum for the last 11 months. While waiting, Rojas is looking after patients at the camp with the hope that his court date,  scheduled for June 23, will be his last.Videographer: Lexie Harrison-Cripps

California Immigrants Fear History Repeating Itself During Protests

The nationwide demonstrations in the U.S. protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have also been accompanied in some instances by looting and vandalism.  In one immigrant community near Los Angeles, residents are angry and fearful after seeing their livelihoods destroyed in just one night. This latest experience brings back painful memories of the past.  VOA’s Elizabeth Lee has more from Cambodia Town in Long Beach, California.

Foreign Students Anxious About New US Immigration Order

The Trump administration's recent executive order suspending most immigration to the U.S. does not directly impact foreign students. But it has created anxiety and doubts about their ability to stay and work in the United States after graduation. Aline Barros explains.

Trump’s Green Card Suspension Contains Many Exceptions

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday suspending for 60 days the issuance of permanent residency status, also known as green cards. He described it as an effort to protect American workers’ jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. While Trump said the order is “powerful,” as White House Correspondent Patsy Widakuswara reports, the action contains a wide series of exceptions and may only affect a small number of people. 

Immigrant Doctors Say Visa Restrictions Limit Them in COVID-19 Fight

At a time when America's health care system is being strained to the breaking point because of the coronavirus pandemic and states are summoning medical professionals into emergency service, many immigrant physicians say U.S. visa restrictions limit how much they can help. Immigration reporter Aline Barros has more.

US to Launch 'Wealth Test' for Immigrants

Beginning Monday, the Trump administration will subject immigrants to heightened scrutiny based on their perceived likelihood to rely on America's public assistance programs. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports the "public charge rule" got the green light from the U.S. Supreme Court last month pending ongoing litigation and will affect low-income foreign citizens seeking U.S. immigration visas or permanent residency in the United States.

New US Immigration Rule Sparks Questions

After getting a preliminary green light from the U.S. Supreme Court in January, the Trump administration is set to subject immigrants to heightened scrutiny based on their perceived likelihood to rely on America's public assistance programs, what some critics call a wealth test. Beginning Monday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin implementing the public charge rule, under which low-income immigrants can be denied legal residency, visas or admission into the United States. The rule is being challenged in federal courts, but the Supreme Court allowed it to go into effect, pending the outcome of litigation. Which factors will be considered under the public charge rule? Mark Greenberg, senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, said USCIS will be looking at a wide range of factors, including an immigrant's age, education, work history, family structure, English language skills and income. “All trying to make a judgment if this person is likely to use public benefits at some future point in their life,” he said. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services logo.Does the rule apply to all immigrants? The rule does not apply to U.S. residents seeking to become U.S. citizens. It also does not apply to certain U.S. visa holders, including those who are in the United States to assist in the investigation or prosecution of crimes. In addition, U.S. officials have said the public charge interpretation would not apply to people who already have green cards, to certain members of the military, refugees, asylum-seekers, pregnant women or children. Which benefits would cause an immigrant to be regarded as a public charge? Broadly speaking, any federal, state or local cash assistance program, including Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and general assistance programs for income maintenance. In addition, use of programs designed to help the poor afford food, housing and medical expenses could also trigger a public charge finding. What formula will USCIS use to determine a public charge? A person may be deemed a public charge if he or she has used one or more public benefits for more than 12 months within any 36-month period. Under the rule, receiving two benefits in one month counts as two months of consuming public resources. What types of visas will fall under the rule? According to USCIS, the rule will apply to all applicants for any type of visa and people within the United States who hold nonimmigrant visas “and seek to extend their stay in the same nonimmigrant classification or to change their status ...

Marymount Provides Scholarships for DACA Recipients

Since the program was initiated nearly a decade ago, recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, have not been eligible for federal financial aid because they are not American citizens. But just last year, a small university in Virginia successfully pushed to be included on a list of a small number of American schools offering a private scholarship to help DACA students pay for their tuition. VOA's Esha Sarai went to Marymount University to find out more

DC Restaurant Gives The US Capital The Taste Of Immigrant Food

Hundreds of new restaurants mushroom in Washington every year, but the "Immigrant Food" restaurant that recently opened just a block away from the White House is unique. On top of making a delicious statement, it also makes a political one, serving food inspired by the many immigrant communities that live in the U.S. Mykhailo Komadovsky visited the unusual venue

VOA Interview: US Ambassador to El Salvador Ronald Johnson

The new U.S. ambassador to El Salvador says the United States is looking forward to reintegrating migrants there from other Central American nations who are seeking asylum in the United States. Ambassador Ronald Johnson, speaking in his first interview since his appointment in July, told VOA there was not a timeline on when El Salvador would start taking in migrants. “I don't have a timeline on it, but I do think that the intent is that it will be implemented in a way that is not burdensome to any of the countries,” Johnson said. 

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