People come to America for many reasons. We come in search of a better life and future. We come for our children – to provide them with more opportunities. But sometimes people try to enter the U.S. at all cost – even if this means committing fraud.
The U.S. Embassy in Manila is considered a high fraud post because of the enormous amount of fake documents and scams people use to get past the gatekeepers. For example, one would pretend to be single while actually married. Another will use a fake passport with a different name or identity. And yet another will not reveal that he has children.
Many immigrants get away with the fraud. They get admitted in the U.S. They arrive and become productive members of the community. Others are less fortunate. They get caught. The penalty is severe. Removal from the U.S. may mean a bar of over ten years.
However, even if a fraud is committed, there is a way to legally stay. Preparation and knowledge are keys. Find out ahead of time how to handle the interview at the immigration office. Any willful misrepresentation of a material fact or the presentation of a fraudulent document will get you in trouble.
However, there are solutions. If you can show that the fraud or misrepresentation was not willful or if it was unintentional, you maybe off the hook. If you didn’t know that you were committing a fraud, how can you be guilty of the fraud? Don’t act as your own attorney. The saying that “one who acts as his own attorney has a fool for a client” applies here. Seek legal counsel if possible.
Even you are caught committing a fraud; there may be waivers that are available. A waiver is a legal term for “forgiving the fraud.” You may be allowed to admit the fraud and still enter the U.S. These are called “waivers of inadmissibility.” There are requirements attached to this waiver. Many of these waivers require that you are related to a U.S. citizen or a “green card” holder. Again see an attorney to find out about these requirements.
If the consul is unable to approve your case the first time, you are entitled to a written explanation. If the fraud can be mitigated, you’ll be given a chance. If not, the reason for the denial should still be in writing. Many consular decisions can be challenged. These State Department employees are humans and they make mistakes. Due to the high volume of cases that are reviewed, errors are not unusual. If you are accused of fraud or misrepresentation and you don’t agree, relax. Take your written explanation with you and see a qualified immigration lawyer.
It’s always better to enter the U.S. legally. But if fraud was committed, don’t give up hope. There are legal loopholes and there are potential reliefs. You can still live a normal life and be a productive member of the community. The key is to know your rights and to get the right advice
Here we go, once again. As he did throughout his campaign, and now well into his presidency, President Trump is using the political ploy of pitting his base against the “other” by hinting about race and ethnicity, and by pandering to beleaguered, underemployed, or just plain frightened voters. Now he is using that ugly political ploy to foment a specious attempt at immigration reform.
This August, along with Republican Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, Trump introduced the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment, the RAISE Act. Of course, the use of the word “raise” to name the bill is part of the ploy. The contention of the bill is that by limiting immigration, the labor force would shrink and, for working-class Americans, the availability of jobs would increase and wages would rise.
Congress has tried limiting immigration to raise American wages three times in American history (1882, 1924, 1964) and it failed each time. And if passed, the bill would cause great pain to those immigrants already here and seeking to reunite with their families, and it would cause great turmoil among other potential immigrants having already spent a long time on visa waiting lists.
Cynicism and Racism at its Best
The RAISE Act would cancel family-based immigration which reunites scores of families. Sorely hurt would be those applying for entry for their parents. As for those already on waiting lists, they would be culled by a point-based system bent toward favoring those potential immigrants with wealth, higher education, and English proficiency – read “white” or “European” or “upper-class Asian.”
Of course, immigration would become a trickle and that's what the sponsors want. And they intend to get it by avowing that this has nothing to do with race. They cynically say that its cause is to protect and benefit working Americans.
The thing is, it won't. The bill is just the culmination of a decades-long attempt to thwart an immigration policy largely put in place during the Johnson years – you know, Johnson, the president who championed civil rights. This effort hearkens back to the 1920's when the Congress, also then in a “protectionist” mood, limited immigration mostly to Europeans.
With this point system, the door would be slammed on immigrants from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. That is the object – those with darker skins need not apply. If you are already here and your family happens to be from one of those areas and can't meet the point system – too bad.
The Lies About Getting a Raise
American history proves that reducing immigration has little bearing on increasing wages or opening up more jobs. Our nation had to overturn three restrictive immigration acts to keep our economy rolling. Three times we had to reopen our doors.
We needed eager people with new ideas willing to work, people willing to be American yet bringing their invigorating cultures, people willing to make America great again – if I may borrow a phrase. RAISE would close those doors once again. One case in point: Many companies in Silicon Valley, where I live, were started by immigrants allowed into this great nation by family-based immigration visas.
The National Academy of Sciences, with a survey measured over 10 years, concluded that the impact of immigration on the wages of native workers was negligible. Negative impacts were felt mostly by immigrant workers already here, or native-born workers with less than a high-school education – about nine percent of the population.
The agreement among many economists is that immigrants have little impact on American wages. The Cotton-Perdue bill won't create a skills-based immigration system and it won't increase American wages. But it will wreak havoc on our economy and, worse yet, it will embolden the racism of the alt-right.
The Truth About Wages and Immigration
The truth of American history shows that Latino, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Ethiopian, and other minority immigrants serve as the spine of many parts of the nation's economy, especially in agriculture, construction, and service-oriented industries. What's more is that many of these folks further spur economic growth by opening businesses themselves and creating even more jobs.
Ethnic ghettos may exist at first. Yet Irish, Italian, German, and other groups eventually became part of our rollicking American society. So will others. If skin color bothers you, go hide under a bed. I have never personally seen an absolutely white person nor an absolutely black person. The many shades in between are what make humans different, and alike.
If politicians could overcome their phony purity-of-heritage standards and really wanted to improve wages, they have many options. Go for a higher minimum-wage increase, understanding that all American economies, from rural to urban, cannot support the same minimum wage, but at least propose some federal guidelines. How about addressing pay equity for women? Strengthening our national health care system would relieve workers and employers of prohibitive expenses – not to mention just putting the populace more at ease on that front.
And, how about coming up with comprehensive, sensible – and just (You know what I mean.) – immigration reform? RAISE doesn't do anything to address the 11 million living in the shadows. Give them a path to citizenship. They already pay taxes. In fact, economic studies have shown that immigrants pay more into the system than they take out. They use less public benefits than the native-born.
What about the backlog of those waiting for immigration? And what about the backlog of those waiting to be united with their loved ones? Somebody is not doing their job. And RAISE is not a job-doer. It's a racist sham catering to a frightened base.
Raising the Matter of Cruelty
Fortunately, the chances may be slim for passing RAISE. Democrats probably won't buy it. Plus, Trump has many problems. He is alienating his Republican partners in the Congress. His approval ratings are plummeting. The Russian investigation is causing him great consternation. And he's ranting about a wall that Mexico won't pay for, so he's threatening a budget default. Hopefully, RAISE will fall by the wayside. Maybe some senators more sane than Cotton or Perdue will produce some effective immigration reform.
Many American-immigrant families have filed papers to reunite with their families. Many are already at an advanced age. The act should at least have provision for those who have been waiting too long. At my practice, I have an 80-year-old client who filed for her sister 20 years ago. If RAISE passes without that provision, that 20-year wait could be in vain. And that raises the matter of shameless cruelty to fellow human beings.
"The chief business of the American people is business."
As a nation primarily made up of business people and entrepreneurs, new arrivals who offer needed capital, lively competition, and new ideas are always welcome. America is seeking the influx of new business citizens, because, as in the past, it needs immigrants to keep itself young and adventurous and a leader in the world of business.
Immigrants Help American History Repeat Itself
Though America has a history full of many stories of astounding success from its immigrant citizens, the nation must have these success stories repeated again and again. Success stories keep American culture moving along, and these stories help keep the nation's torch lit as the best land of opportunity in a world of competing nations. As an immigrant aspiring to do well in any land of business, you should seriously consider becoming another American success story yourself.
To enhance the international business opportunities between the two countries, the U.S. offers what is called an “investor's visa” or an E-2 visa. This offers an excellent opportunity to make your money work for you in a vibrant economy of change and opportunity. And it allows you to immigrate to the United States with your family, and perhaps even your key employees.
America is the land of opportunity and it presents many opportunities to fit your business sense or your business skills. Buying an existing business or franchise is advisable because you will have the benefit of purchasing a company that has an infrastructure that includes customers, suppliers, employees, equipment and systems. But, if you have any business opportunity in mind, knowledgeable sources are available to research the market and provide you with the details to ensure your success.
A broad array of well-known American franchise opportunities exist: AAMCO Transmissions, Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream, and Burger King are only a few of what's available. The American service industry offers other options: Advertising, printing and publications, child care, computer services, food processing, real estate, shipping, dry cleaning or laundry, internet services, manufacturing, and the list goes on.
So many options are available for those who seek to invest and to succeed in business – to succeed in America. Work permits could become available for a spouse and children. Permits for fellow Filipinos who are crucial to your business success may be able to accompany you. Folks who can manage $60,000 to $500,000 for investment in a U.S. business will find Immigration Services happy to work with them and their business consultants.
Share the Wealth, Share the Ideal
America is committed to helping business men and business women achieve their goals. To grow wealth is among America's goals. Wealth offers an avenue to the high hopes, to the reasons for being alive. Wealth grows the arts, higher learning, and aid for humanity as a whole.
Immigrants excited about business opportunities are always welcome and encouraged to share in that American wealth, that American ideal.
The WWII Philippines Campaign and “Intent to depart the U.S.”
"I came out of Bataan and I shall return." That is the full promise made by General Douglas McArthur as he departed the Philippines in 1942. Historians tend to quote only the last part of the vow – historians like things pithy. The general got by with making only a verbal promise that he would return to the Asian islands. A Filipino tourist has to offer hard, verifiable evidence of their “intent to depart the U.S.” once their tourist visa expires.
Sight-Seeing and Shopping
The American landscape presents so many features and attractions for the curious and eager tourist. Top destinations include San Francisco, The Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, New York, Yellowstone National Park, Disneyland, and the list goes on. Fifty-five million people visited the U.S. last year. They spent an estimated $120 billion while staying here. Shopping was their favorite activity. Close to ninety percent of the tourists in 2009 went shopping in the U.S.
The Elusive Tourist Visa
Yes, your “intent to depart the U.S.” will be a prime consideration as U.S. Consulate Officers decide whether or not to grant you a tourist visa. As these visas become more scarce, a number of considerations come into play. So, how do you get a U.S. tourist visa and what kind of proof must you offer to back up your promise to return to the Philippines?
Don't flabbergast the consular officials by stating that the U.S. would be a wonderful place to start a new life. Or about how well-paying jobs are in America. Or how proud you would be if you were a U.S. citizen. These are all noble inclinations, but betraying them will only hinder your quest for a tourist visa. You're visiting – not homesteading.
Pulling It All Together
As you prepare to apply for a U.S. tourist visa, pay attention to these important considerations to help ease your way through the process.
The best preparation for tackling the somewhat difficult job of getting a U.S. tourist visa, is to visit the U.S. Embassy website. Resources such as Frequently Asked Questions, online forms, case examples and other information will prove to be quite valuable as you take your first steps to visiting America. And don't forget your promise to return.
Lazaro Law Group, Managing Attorney