AKIPRESS.COM - US Homeland Security Department is moving toward closing immigration offices outside the United States, saying it is expected to free up millions of dollars a year to better address a backlog in domestic locations.
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.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokeswoman Jessica Collins told Washington Post on Tuesday that the visa-granting agency is in preliminary discussions to close offices in 20 countries outside the United States. There are about 70 employees in Great Britain, Mexico, South Africa, Italy, India, the Philippines, China and other countries.
USCIS currently maintains 23 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. The office in Athens will take over issues related to immigration from Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.