... I share the concerns about the proposed revamping of the religious worker visa program. I haven't read the new proposed regulations, but even the way the old ones were phrased, it was clear there was a clear bias to Judeo-Christian understandings of religious professions. I don't think that's acceptable in a pluralistic democracy. Yes, there are legitimate concerns about fraud and I'm sure there are ways to address this without resorting to very narrow definitions of religious work.
And if the USCIS is now talking about site visits -- a proposal that looks good on paper -- then God help us! It's such an inefficient and understaffed organization, I can only imagine the kinds of chaos and mismanagement this would result in.
All this attention for 11000 work visas that are given out each year? That's a tiny fraction of the total number of US visas (non-immigrant as well as immigrant) that are given out each year.
I'm not condoning fraud. I just think given the actual conditions under which the USCIS operates, this has the potential to be disastrous for religious communities of all stripes.
And for those Catholics who are instinctively (or even critically) anti-immigration -- do remember that all those foreign priests and religious that now staff so many parishes across the land use this program.