There is an internal battle shaping up within the Trump administration over which Executive department will control the overseas processing of immigration applications, according to the Washington Post. For the last six decades, visa issuance for people to enter the United States has been in the hands of the State Department. Trump aide Steve Miller wants to move that massive operation over to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is understandably upset about the proposed move. It would pull 12,000 staff out of his department along with $3 Billion. According to the Washington Post:
Tillerson also disagrees on this issue with his own nominee to become the head of consular affairs, Carl Risch, who once argued before Congress that visa issuance should be moved to DHS, testifying it is a law-enforcement process and “has nothing to do with diplomacy.”
Leading Democrats in Congress side with Tillerson and are prepared to fight the White House if it pursues the change. “I firmly believe the State Department should remain the face of America to the world and the entry point for foreigners traveling here, for consular activities and refugee resettlement,” said Benjamin L. Cardin (Md.), ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Refugee resettlement is not an immigration program but, rather, a humanitarian program and a diplomatic tool, Cardin said. He called the White House proposal “disastrous.”
Cardin’s House counterpart, Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), said that placing these tasks in the hands of law enforcement “suggests that we view non-Americans as suspicious and maybe even a threat.” The Republican leaders of both Foreign Relations committees declined to state a position on the proposal.