Speed Reads

Immigration

How the Trump administration used 'deceptively mundane' rule changes to curb immigration

Banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries and rescinding DACA were well-known, highly public actions carried out by former President Donald Trump as he sought to curb immigration during his lone term in the White House, but his administration also implemented "an extensive, bureaucratic" strategy to "transform immigration through rule changes, adjustments to asylum officers' guidelines, modifications to enforcement norms, and other measures," The New Yorker reports.

Many of these "deceptively mundane" rule changes have been tracked by immigrants' rights groups, and they could be as simple as "changing one single word on a form," said Lucas Guttentag, a law professor at Yale and Stanford who is considered "one of the most fastidious chroniclers" of the low-key alterations over the last four years. For example, the ombudsman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services discovered the agency began rejecting some paperwork if the blank spaces weren't filled out with "N/A," the shorthand for "non-applicable." And the USCIS also redesigned its civics exam so that the answer for the question "Who does a U.S. senator represent?" from "All people of the state" to "Citizens of their state."

Per The New Yorker, Guttentag's tracking project logged 1,058 changes to the immigration system by the end of Trump's presidency, which helped cut the number of legal immigrants to the U.S. nearly in half. Read more at The New Yorker.