THE ROLE OF AMERICAN CONSULATES

THE ROLE OF AMERICAN CONSULATES

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■■■■■■The Role of American Consulates

November 19, 2009     By Glenn R. Morales Dalrymple, Knight – Thompson & Associates
 Published Articles

 

The Consulates of the United States of America, located in most countries around the world, are in charge of receiving, processing and authorizing the granting of “Non-Immigrant” (B1-B2, L1, H1, others) or “Immigrant” visas (Permanent Residences) to citizens of other nationalities so that they can enter U.S. territory through its various points of migration inspection, at airports, seaports or land borders.

 

The State Department of the United States administers and puts into operation the migratory, technological and legal instruments for the granting of American visas through its various Consulates and the international factors that influence in the work of the State Department when it has to decide whether to granting a new visa or renew an already valid one are many and varied.

 It should be emphasized that American Consulates collaborate in the security of American citizens living abroad, offering them: (a) the delivery of new American passports, (b) Notary Public Services, (c) the location of medical services, (d) visits to American citizens imprisoned abroad, (e) matters related to deaths, marriages, births, etc., (f) in obtaining economic funds, (g) aid in emergency evacuations and dehorns, and (h) attention to general emergencies through the Office of Aid to Citizens Abroad of the State Department.

 

 The Consular Officers who work at the various U.S. Consulates around the world, play a vital role in the control and direct security of U.S. territories and of U.S. citizens. They handle thousands of requests for American visas from foreign citizens who wish to enter the United States, either for family reunions, business matters, pleasure, studies, or work, among other reasons. However, there are other groups or individuals who seek to destabilize American democratic policy, or who wish to commit terrorist acts, or to deal in prohibited substances, or to illegally extract technology for arms trafficking or unfair commercial competition, including the trade and distribution of fake products, thus violating international laws and agreements on Copyrights or Industrial Property Rights, (Trade Marks, Patents on Inventions, etc.), or Author’s Rights, known internationally as Intellectual Property Rights.

 

The Consular Officers, who are sent by the U.S. State Department to the many American Consulates around the world, carry a great responsibility on their shoulders, as they are the ones who receive the American visa requests and must interview the foreign candidate to evaluate, to verify and evaluate the family background of the individual as well as his social, commercial and economic connections in the country where he lives.A series of administrative and technological mechanisms come into play before an American visa can be granted to anyone. Information about the candidate must be crossed checked by other federal governmental organisms to verify whether he is a delinquent, either in his own country or abroad, whose present situation or passed conduct may be a threat to the U.S. community or to the system of federal and state laws of the United States of America.

 Consular Officers must closely observe many faces, lists of requests and newspaper clippings to determine whether the foreign candidate is deserving or not of an American visa, and they execute their task in a way that sometimes pleases and in other cases annoys the applicant.

 It has always has been quite clear that consular criteria for the rejecting or revoking a foreigner’s American visas are based on the candidate’s present, passed and future economic aspects, both within or outside the United States.

 U.S. Consular Officers receive numerous visa requests from foreign citizens who, on their request forms, attach fraudulent documents about their family, their economic or work connections in their country of residence, in an attempt to confuse the Official, and thus, obtain the desired American visa, only to be able to commit misdeeds within the American territory, like defrauding and even abusing the educational or health systems, in detriment of the honest residents and North American citizens who pay their taxes and lead a successful and transparent life within American territory.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Glenn R. Morales Attorney at Law, Private International Law. / Consular Processing

 

####### History Of Consular Affairs And Visa Restrictions In The Background Of The American National Security.• On January 27, 2017, the Executive Order signed by President  Donald J. Trump concerns nationals of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen and stated : “numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program.”• In 1979, J. Carter and the Attorney General reviewed the F1 student visa status of Iranians initiating the deportation process  against those not in compliance with the INA – F1 NIV requirements.• In 1980, the New Mexico State University banned Iranian students from admitting at the university.• In 1979, the former INS had identified 6,906 deportable Iranian citizens.• After 9-11 the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System was designed to increase visa- physical screening of nationals from 25 countries.• In June 2002, after 9-11, former INS expanded the alien registration and fingerprinting control to require aliens to report to INS upon :U.S. arrival/after U.S. arrival, 12 months after U.S. arrival, and the time of U.S. departure. Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Iran nationals were required by Attorney General to be registered/fingerprinted.• The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System prolonged under presidents Barack Obama until April 2011 and the U.S. VISIT –Visitor/Immigrant Status Indicator Technology was created.”Obama’s actions:— July 25, 2011. Barred those under a UN travel ban, or who broke 29 executive orders covering transactions with terrorists.— Aug. 4, 2012. Banned anybody involved in war crimes, or just about any other crime including human rights violations.— April 23, 2012. Barred those helping Syria or Iran, or involved in human rights abuses for those governments.— May 1, 2012. Another block on those helping Iran and Syria.— April 3, 2014. Banned anyone known to threaten South Sudan.— March 6, 2014 . Barred entry of those claiming government authority in the Crimea region of Ukraine, presumably on behalf of Moscow.”• The Former U.S. Senior Foreign Service Officer, Hon. David T. Jones, in his article (AFSA) entitled “The Under-Appreciated Consular Cone”, expressed the following considerations: “… visa issuance must become more careful than ever, or the State will share the blame for the next successful terrorist bombing..”• The Honorable Janice Jacobs, Assistant Secretary for the State Department´s Bureau of Consular Affairs at the congressional hearing on October 2003, declared: “We have also revoked visas for individuals whose names were similar to names found in address books or computer files of suspected terrorists. As with the December 2003 example above, in these cases, we acted to revoke visas based on name similarities and without information to either confirm a match or to establish a nexus to terrorism”.“While that information may lead to a visa revocation, the fact that the visa was revoked does not necessarily mean that the person whose visa is revoked is a terrorist or is remotely related to terrorism. In short, in almost all cases, the revocation has been prudential rather than being based on a  definite  finding that the alien  is  inadmissible. This is, in part, because, at the time of revocation, we are often unable to conclude with certainty that the visa-holder is the subject of derogatory information”.• On January 26, 2004, the Senator Grassley with conformation in the person of Honorable Maura Harty, former Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, declared before the National Commission on Terrorist  Attacks on the United States, that: “The Consular Officers of the Foreign Service, who adjudicate visas at 211 embassies and consulates abroad, are truly our first line of defense. They must have the best information available within the U.S. government on terrorist threats. I cannot over-emphasize this point: one of the most reliable ways to stop those who intend us harm is to identify them to our consular officers abroad. The Department of State, working with other agencies, has made significant improvements to our ability to share information – my colleagues here with me today represent institutions that symbolize this inter-agency commitment to information-sharing. Thanks to this new level of collaboration, the data held in our Consular Lookout System now totals almost 18 million records, on people ineligible to receive visas, nearly triple what we had prior to September 11. We now have more than eight million records from the FBI alone in our system”.“The majority of the data in the Visa System now derives from other agencies, especially those in the law enforcement and intelligence communities. Information sharing, of course, must be reciprocal. We now provide access to the 75 million visa records in our consular data-base to DHS officers at ports of entry, so that they can view the electronic files we have of every visaed passenger entering the United States. This data-base permits the examination of detailed information, in near-real-time, on all visas issued, including the photographs of non-immigrant visa applicants. We are also sharing our consular data-base with the National Targeting Center, a 24/7 operation of Customs and Border Protection in DHS”.• On July 13, 2004 , the Hon. Tony Edson Managing Director, Office of Visa Services at the House Committee on Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations quoted: “If the holder of the revoked visa reapplies for a visa at one of our embassies or consulates abroad, a consular officer carefully screens his application and, after consultation with the Department, determines eligibility”. * On Nov. 10, 2005, the Senator Grassley (R-Iowa ) quoted former Inspector General of the DHS, Mr. Clark Kent Erwin, in his December 2002 report entitled: “Review of Non-Immigrant Visa Issuance Policy”, as saying: “The visa process was seldom considered a major element of national security… despite the fact that, after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, Congress mandated the issuance of machine-readable visas and CLASS name-checks worldwide… (and) the Visa Viper programs ”.• On January 29, 2017, President Trump stated :  “To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days. I have a tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria. My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as President, I will find ways to help all those who are suffering.”