WASHINGTON/NEW YORK — The U.S. immigration agency plans to significantly reduce its presence abroad, according to an internal e-mail seen by Reuters and current and former U.S. officials, in an effort to shift resources to domestic offices that took some career officials by surprise.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, currently operates 23 offices overseas, scattered across Latin America, Europe and Asia, according to the agency’s website.
The move comes as the Trump administration has worked in the past two years to limit both legal and illegal immigration with cuts to the U.S. refugee program and USCIS stepping up vetting of visa applications.
The USCIS offices carry out a number of services, including helping Americans who want to bring relatives to the United States, processing refugee applications, enabling overseas citizenship applications and assisting U.S. citizens who want to adopt foreign children, the website says. USCIS officers abroad also look for fraud in visa applications and provide technical immigration advice to other U.S. government officials.