US Immigration offices abroad set to close

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A woman leaves the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices in New York. reuters

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s administration is planning to close the US immigration agency’s overseas locations, according to current and former officials and an internal memo, in a move affecting offices that currently handle family visa requests, international adoptions and other tasks.

The move is the latest from an administration that has worked to limit both legal and illegal immigration since Trump took office in January 2017, including cuts to the US refugee programme and heightened vetting of US visa applications.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Francis Cissna, in an email message to agency employees, announced plans for closure of the international field offices. The plans called for shifting those duties to US-based agency offices and American consulates and embassies abroad.

The agency, part of the US Department of Homeland Security, currently operates 23 offices overseas, scattered across Latin America, Europe and Asia, according to the agency’s website.

The international offices can also process naturalisations of US military service members who are not already US citizens. USCIS officers abroad also look for fraud in visa applications and provide technical immigration advice to other US government officials.

On Monday, senior USCIS officials told employees that the agency had decided to close its overseas posts.

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