Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Tuesday | February 12, 2013
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Barred from entering the US
Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington
Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I have a situation and would appreciate your expert thoughts on the matter. I entered the United States (US) at the age of 18 on a minor visa, which was brought before me upon arrival at the JFK Airport eight years ago. I was banned for five years from entering the US. In 2012, I reapplied to enter the US, but I was denied a visa. I was then told that I entered the US on a fraudulent visa and, as such, I was permanently ineligible to receive a visiting visa.

Is there any possible chance of me travelling to the US? Can you please advise?

Thanking you in advance.

- K.W.

Dear K.W.,

Unfortunately you have committed immigration fraud and are in fact permanently barred from entering the US on any form of visa because of the fraud. At age 18, the US deems a person responsible for immigration fraud, and in some instances, even persons younger than 18 can have fraud imputed to them and are denied certain immigration benefits as a result. Although it would appear from your email that you travelled to the US accompanied by someone who gave you the fraudulent visa when you arrived in the US, you are still held accountable for the fraud.

Fraud takes on many faces. It can be as simple as lying on an application for immigration benefits to as complex as buying a visa or presenting fake documents to obtain a visa or entry to the US. Fraud and misrepresentation in seeking immigration benefits is a permanent bar to entry into the US. It never goes away. When applying for non-immigrant visa benefits, e.g., a visitor's, student or H2-B visas, prior immigration fraud will prevent you from receiving such benefits for which you may otherwise be eligible.

To obtain a visa to travel to the US as a non-immigrant or as a permanent resident, application must be made to the US government for permission to travel. Paying someone money to obtain a visa on your behalf must be closely scrutinised to determine if the person is legitimately in the business of applying for a visa on your behalf, or if the person is going 'work magic' to get you a visa. No one can guarantee you that you will receive a visa. Be very suspicious of such offers. Too many Jamaicans have been naive in the immigration process and have gone down an easy road to get their hands on an American visa. Some have even done so when they have relatives in the US who can apply for permanent residency for them, but they do not want to wait on the process to take its course.

Examples of immigration fraud

Examples of immigration fraud include making an application for a non-immigrant visa saying that you are married when you are in fact single, presenting a job letter from a place where you are not employed, and lying on the visa application about which relatives you may have who are permanent US residents or US citizens. If you are able to obtain a non-immigrant visa and to enter the US on the fraudulently obtained visa, you are deemed to be in the US fraudulently and without a visa. At any time your fraud is discovered, you would be placed in removal (deportation) proceedings.

The US Embassy can also call in the Jamaican authorities to proceed with criminal charges in Jamaica for certain types of fraud, e.g. presenting false documents in the application for a visa. The likelihood of a person who committed immigration fraud obtaining a non-immigrant visa is slim to none. If you apply for a US visa and you are unsuccessful, wait a few years and your situation may change to where you can apply again and your chances may improve. It is unwise to 'take a chance' and commit immigration fraud in the hope that you will get a US visa when you want it and not when the US embassy is ready to issue you a visa.

If you were the beneficiary of an immigrant visa application, the fraud would also make you inadmissible to the US. However, there are waivers for fraud if you have a qualifying relative and situation, but these waivers are discretionary and difficult to obtain. To be approved for a waiver because of fraud or misrepresentation, you must display that your qualifying relative is experiencing extreme hardship that can only be relieved if you, the banned relative, are permitted to live in the US.

Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practices immigration law in the United States; and Family, Criminal & Personal Injury Law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and Special Magistrate in Broward County, Florida. info@walkerhuntington.com


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