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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsCould Consular Processing Functions Be Moved From DOS To DHS?

Could Consular Processing Functions Be Moved From DOS To DHS?

Transcript of the above video:

In today's discussion, I'm going to bring up some stuff that I've been reading across the internet with respect to the possibility that the current administration under President Trump and Undersecretary of State Tillerson. There's been serious discussion about the possibility that so-called consular processing functions within the Department of State. So the visa passport issuance functions that are currently undertaken by the Department of Consular Affairs under the Department of State may be transferred to the authority of the Department of Homeland Security.

Now this is pretty significant stuff in the U.S. immigration world because it would effectively, it would tighten up in the system insofar as how it’s operated basically since the Eisenhower administration and before. Up to this point, virtually all of the consular processing functions of visa applications, passport issuances etcetera have been undertaken by the Department of State and this goes all the way back to right after the foundation of the Constitution and the first administration under General George Washington, then President George Washington. This is some pretty serious stuff and it could be sort of groundbreaking if things go down. The way it looks like they're shaping up to actually go down. So from Diplopundit’s blog, which is a great resource for those who are interested in consular processing issues. The headlines “Trump, White House reportedly considering pooling CA and PRM to the Department of Homeland Security.”

And what are we talking about with CA and PRM? CA is Consular Adjudications, Consular Affairs. PRM is like refugees that kind of stuff migrants. But to quote directly from Diplopundit’s article, this was written June 29th, Wednesday, “CNN came out with a report about the Trump, White House reportedly considering a proposal to move both CA and PRM to the Department of Homeland Security. The report says the memo came from the White House Domestic Policy Council. This entry then goes on to explain what the White House Domestic Policy Council is which I will not go into specifically within this video.

To quote further from that specific article, “the White House is considering a proposal to move both the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, that’s CA and its Bureau of Population Refugee and Migration to the Department of Homeland Security, a senior White House official tells CNN. So then later, well on June 29th from that same blog Diplopundit, we get this article “consular affairs specifically responds to move CA and DHS news spectacularly amidst in message to troops.” This is all from That's the headline and then to quote directly from that “today acting assistant secretary for consular affairs David T. Donahue sent a message of ‘reassurance to CA employees, CA is consular affairs, without ever mentioning the CNN report.’ AAAS Donahue must think CFLs live in a huge rocks with no cable TV or the Internet. Here is the short form and to quote just one specific excerpt within it that gentleman went ahead and said “I am committed to keeping you informed as information is available please feel free to forward this message to your consular colleague.

What's going on there? In response to this information on the possibility that consular adjudications could be moved to the Department of Homeland Security, I think what the Diplopundit blog was trying to get across is that some of the folks seem a little flabbergasted. This is some serious significant stuff and if it does happen, it would be a sea change in terms of US immigration and how US immigration operates.

This one is coming from Politico, it's on the 30th of June. The headline is Tillerson argued with a second White house aid. So we're talking about Secretary of State Tillerson. To quote directly from this article, “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson argued with senior White House aide Steven Miller over immigration issues last week in a second reason clash with the White House.” To continue quoting again “Miller has been holding meetings to address how to further curb the entry of refugees into the United States per two administration officials and have closely worked with senators on legislative proposals to sharply cut other forms of legal immigration. Now this is this is some pretty significantly important stuff here because this again, all those back to some of the stuff I've been talking about since the travel ban was first suggested and since we've seen things like the extreme vetting protocols, the memo with respect to non-immigrant visa processing. It seems fairly clear to me that this administration has a specific policy and is implementing policy in an effort to, for lack of a better term simply reduce immigration, reduce movement of people of foreign nationality into the United States of America. And this policy does not seem to particularly pertain only to immigrants. It also pertains some not immigrants and the overriding shifts and policy does not even seem to necessarily be geographically specific.

As has been previously noted not immigrant visa units now no longer are prioritizing expeditiously processing non-immigrant visa cases and this is across the board. Moreover, things like the extreme vetting protocols do not specifically target specific geographic areas. These protocols seem to be designed to target specific groups in regions worldwide. And what the how those groups are sort of defined is left us mainly to the local post.

Finally from a July 7th entry on Diplopundit, a State Department survey report recommends moving issuance of visas, passports and travel docs to DHS. I'm not going to go through everything that's in this. I strongly recommend those interested in this stuff check out Diplopundit. This is some really interesting stuff that they put up on there and I think it's worth noting that Diplopundit is a good resource for some of this information.

Going down here item five, new issuance of passports, visas and other travel documents are only security. We’ve heard enough comments combined with our own expertise in organization design of matters to conclude that there may be an opportunity to elevate efficiency and reduce cost by this change. Indications are that doing so would elevate security of our borders and remove a source of dissatisfaction and frustration. This is an interesting, this would all came out in a report that basically was the results of a survey to various Department of State personnel. Diplopundit insider writers or shall I say, themselves essentially kind of imply and maybe explicitly state might be the better term within the pages of the blog that they would like to know who exactly within the Department of State felt this way as it would seem that this individual may or may not think that this is actually greatly indicative of the overall feeling. That being said, I don't know that it's not. I think frankly I could believe in either way. I think that there are certain pros and cons that one can put forward with respect to the notion that DHS take over these functions. I can think of many pros and frankly I can think of not a few cons. Again this is this is important stuff and again it is it's truly a sea change with respect to immigration policy and with respect to immigration practice and protocol.

To quote further from this article, “it's also worth noting that the Trump administration's nominee to lead consular there is publicly on record in support of moving the visa function to DHS. And DHS being the Department Homeland Security. All of this in the aggregate, I'm sorry for sort of just you know reading a bunch of quotes and just dumping a lot of dense information but all of this in the aggregate leads me to believe that there's a pretty good likelihood that we may very possibly see consular adjudications, you know, visa application processing being moved over to the Department of Homeland Security. Now one could make the argument that perhaps in the past, the visa application process was somewhat redundant insofar as there was a petition that went through Department of Homeland Security and then there was application process which took you through the specific embassy in question overseas. While I can sort of understand the rationale behind a statement such as that it never felt what really like the case that it was really redundant to me if anything. I kind of have always felt it with a positive aspect of consular processing because the local consulate truly understands the local customs and for that reason, in a lot of ways the embassy in Bangkok does things slightly differently than say the embassy in Singapore. And for this reason, the embassy in Bangkok is going to know, as a practical matter they're going to tailor things a little bit more highly specific and this embassy in Singapore is going to tailor things a little bit more Singaporean specific. Around the world, each country has its own set of identity documents, tax documentation you know, all kinds of things that these embassies and consular officials have to look at and for that reason, I think it has been very well-suited to the State Department.

Now I can understand the efficiency argument that perhaps moving, serving these functions over within the Department of Homeland Security's umbrella might actually provide a level of efficiency and might actually increase the speed of processing. It's really hard to say. That being said and all of this being understood, I think it's fairly safe to assume first of all yes I think the Trump administration is going to continue with some rather significant changes to the immigration process and I think it's fairly safe to surmise that there's going to be a major push probably sooner rather than later to move consular processing functions under the aegis of Department Homeland Security.