U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced plans to shut down all its international immigration field offices overseas, according to reports.
The report comes from Politico:
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.
USCIS Director Francis Cissna reportedly said in an email that the administration planned to transfer the services currently handled in these overseas outlets to domestic offices here in the U.S.
Cissna also insisted that the plans would allow the department to begin clearing the huge backlog of cases sitting idle in the system.
“The naturalization application backlog stood at 738,148 cases on September 30, a 16 percent increase over the level just before Trump took office,” Politico reported.
USCIS spokeswoman Jessica Collins said in a written statement that the agency would work closely with the State Department and the Homeland Security Department “to ensure no interruption … to affected applicants and petitioners.”
The offices affected include 23 filed offices in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia.
This isn’t a total shock, though. The administration has already closed offices in Cuba and Moscow.
The American citizens who work at these overseas offices will be reassigned back here in the U.S.
The closures will likely serve to discourage some who may want to immigrate to the U.S. Without having the offices at easy access, some may not apply.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.