I quoted Jessica Vaughan at the Center for Immigration Studies wondering why, even aside from the Ebola business, a single unemployed male citizen of Liberia—the nation with the fifth highest rate of visa overstaying in the U.S.—applying from a third country, with relatives living here, was given a visa.
I added: “I’d actually replace Jessica’s closing question with a slightly different one: Who gets denied a non-immigrant visa nowadays?”
Well, here’s someone. For this glimpse of the other side of the non-immigrant visa process, the side where worthy cases are denied non-immigrant visas—as opposed to the Ebola guy, a very dubious case who none the less got one—I am obliged to attorney Jim Sweeney of Pasadena, CA.
Jim has a website here. The following communication from him to me, slightly edited, is reproduced with his permission.
Mr. Derbyshire:The Philippines seems to draw the short straw in U.S. immigration all over. According to the State Department website, Fourth Preference immigrant visas (i.e. for permanent settlement; Fourth Preference is “brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens”) are backed up from April 1991.
I’m a lawyer in the LA area, with a litigation and family law practice in the main.
I happened to start a very small practice in the Philippine Islands where I will represent women with children by American fathers who have abandoned the children. I do this to obtain child support for the children and it is pro bono as nobody in the Philippines has any money.
I have a client there whom I wished to come here so as to visually identify the father prior to my filing a suit against him. She lives an hour or so by air from Manila, which is where every Filipina seeking a US visa must go as the Embassy conducts what it terms an “interview.”
My client said the interview was conducted at a counter, through a glass window like a bank teller’s. She had all the documents plus a letter from me stating the legal issues and why I wanted her to visit.
I also wanted to train her so she could do intakes in the Philippines for other women in her situation. I guaranteed her financially as well. And I wanted her to testify in court.
The Embassy interviewer told her she could send a testimonial video to the court and denied her non-immigrant visa request.
I am led to believe that a high rate of Filipinos are denied non-immigrant visas. Why?
Your guess is as good as mine and will likely be the same. Though brown, they are Asian and not a protected class.
There was no legal or documentary impediment to my client’s visa approval—none. It is simply a random and capricious ruling by an unnamed, unaccountable Embassy staffer to which there is no appeal without permanently damaging the applicant and sponsor should they re-apply.
Without jest, I have suggested my Filipina client try for a Mexican visa and then simply walk across in Texas where I’d meet her and take it from there. Somehow reforming the process just described is unlikely to be high or at all on the list of the immigration “reformers.”
Whether this is a good thing or not I couldn’t say. My entire knowledge of the Philippines is derived from reading Timothy Mo’s dark-comedy novel Brownout on Breadfruit Boulevard, which suggests it is a good thing. Novelists, however, are not necessarily reliable guides to reality.
I’m not sure about Jim’s “not a protected class” speculation, either. It may be that the entire misfortune of the Philippines in this regard is their not having a land border with the U.S.A. or any nations to our south. If they had one, we’d likely be waving them through. And in fact, come to think of it …