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“The State Department will not be interviewing most applicants for seasonal guestworker visas under a new policy announced in late March. Aside from the absurdity of bringing in any foreign guestworkers at all at the height of a global pandemic that just threw millions of Americans out of work, this move has re-opened a security and fraud vulnerability in the temporary worker visa program that career homeland security officials have fought for years to close.
“On March 26, the State Department announced that the applications of new and returning farm and non-farm seasonal workers would be immediately expedited by waiving requirements for most visa applicants to be interviewed. The entry of these workers apparently has slowed to a trickle in the wake of travel restrictions imposed (wisely) on March 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, only returning workers asking to renew their visas were allowed to bypass the interview. Under the new policy, even first-time applicants will be able to get a visa without speaking to a consular officer. “We anticipate the vast majority of otherwise qualified H-2 applicants will now be adjudicated without an interview,” stated a USDA memorandum.”
Jessica M. Vaughan
Director of Policy Studies
Jessica M. Vaughan serves as Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, DC-based research institute that examines the impact of immigration on American society and educates policymakers and opinion leaders on immigration issues. She has been with the Center since 1992, and her area of expertise is immigration policy and operations, covering topics such as visa programs, immigration benefits and immigration law enforcement. Ms. Vaughan recently completed several major projects on immigration and crime, including a Department of Justice-funded project studying the use of immigration law enforcement in transnational gang suppression efforts. In addition, she is an instructor for senior law enforcement officer training seminars at Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety in Illinois.
Prior to joining the Center, Mrs. Vaughan was a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department, where she served in Belgium and Trinidad & Tobago. Her articles have appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, National Review, Boston Globe, The Economist, San Francisco Chronicle, In the National Interest, Arizona Republic and other publications, and can be found at cis.org. She has testified before Congress several times and advises state lawmakers and agencies on immigration issues. She is frequently cited in news media reports on immigration, and has appeared on NPR, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
Mrs. Vaughan has a Master’s degree from Georgetown University and earned her Bachelor’s degree in International Studies at Washington College in Maryland.
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