A Retired Border Patrol Agent Says That A Legally Issued Visa Doesn`t Always Make An Alien "Legal"
June 04, 2008, 05:00 AM
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06/03/08 - A Delaware Reader Has Advice For A Somali in Columbus

From: John Frecker (e-mail him)

Re: Joe Guzzardi's Column: It's Official! Legal Immigration Is A Bigger Problem Than Illegal Immigration

Just because an alien has a visa issued by legitimate authorities doesn't necessarily mean that the alien is "legal".

Before I retired from the Border Patrol, we dealt with this all the time. What determines the alien's status is his "intent at the time of entry."

Even though the alien has a non-immigrant visa (student, visitor, H-2A or B, etc.) issued by U.S. authorities, if his goal when he arrives is to remain or to work in the U.S, he is not "legal".

A non-immigrant must mean to return to his home country at the end of his authorized period of admission. Proving intent, however, is difficult.

The 911 killers are a good example. They had a variety of non-immigrant visas but their intent at the time of their entries was to attack the U.S.

We "voluntarily removed" (deported) many aliens who had been admitted as non-immigrants but who never planned to comply with the terms of their admission.

Proving intent is difficult unless the alien cooperates refuses to make an admission, and usually the deportation charge used is that they "failed to comply with the terms of their admission".

Some may view this as quibbling.

But it bothers me to have these individuals called "legal" when, in my opinion, they're every bit as illegal as those who trudge across the border without inspection.

And calling them legal also absolves the State Department and the admitting customs and border patrol officers if they say: "Oh, they were legal at admission but then decided to violate the terms of their admission." 

If the State Department and CBP did a better job, a lot of these people would never be given visas or admitted in the first place.

Frecker lives in Maine.