U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services plans to close all its international field offices, according to three people familiar with the decision.
The offices — which are located in embassies and consulates around the world — handle everything from immigration applications and fraud detection. In addition, the offices provide expertise to other U.S. government agencies and partner with foreign governments.
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While President Donald Trump frequently highlights his opposition to illegal immigration, his administration also has taken steps to make the legal immigration process more difficult. The latest move could affect everyone from members of the U.S. military applying for citizenship to foreigners seeking to join their relatives in the U.S., according to those familiar with the move.
USCIS maintains 22 field offices in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia, according to an official website. The agency already has closed its field office in Cuba and previously planned to close an office in Moscow on March 29.
USCIS Director Francis Cissna said in an email to staff that the agency was in preliminary discussions with the State Department to assume some the overseas workload, so that it could focus on backlogs in the U.S. Part of the workload also would be transferred to domestic USCIS offices.