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Over 200 US visas canceled, more to follow, as US clamp down on abuses
New York – Guyanese who holds multiple entry visitors visas to the United States, and have been using their visiting time to work, make “anchor babies”, or commit other illegalities in the US (even in the past), now runs the risk of being refused entry on their next trip to the United States, face possible visa revocation, or being granted no more than a month to remain in the US.
This has since resulted in the visas of a number of Guyanese being canceled upon arrival, while others were either simply denied entry, or granted less time than they had requested.
Several travelers are now baffled as to what may have triggered the change of entry policy.
A report in the New York Times had reminded visitors visas holders from the world over, that being in possession of a US visa does not grant anyone automatic entry into the US.
Even if someone has a child that was born in the US, the parent of that child, if they are a foreign citizen without US residency status, also does not have any automatic right to enter the United States. Their entry request will be treated separately and independent of the child.
A usually reliable source at the US Department of State, who says their comment is independent of the agency, also confirmed this to the Guyana Guardian, while explaining that a visitor visa only allows the holder an opportunity to be examined by a border agent at a US port of entry, who will then decide whether to allow the visa holder entry into the United States or not.
In the same way, border agents can choose to cancel a visa, refuse you entry or apply other conditions within the ambit of the law, and which may be in the interest of the United States.
She pointed out that in recent times, there has been an observed trend where a large number of visitor visa holders would either travel to the United States and remain for a few months just to have their babies born in the US, while others are taking up seasonal employment when their visas do not grant them the right to do so.
“We have been noticing a steady rise in this trend, not only with regard to Guyanese citizens, but with other nationalities as well. And therefore, we need to ensure that the sustained abuse of the issued visa conditions does not continue to occur, especially at this scale”, she stressed.
During Barack Obama’s presidency, the US visa policy as it relates to Guyana and a few other countries had changed drastically, in as much that Guyanese no longer face any major hurdles to obtain a ten-year-multiple entry visa.
However, US President Donald Trump has been more supportive of a policy that would make it more difficult for persons from low-income countries such as Guyana to enter the United States.
The President had claimed that visitors from developing nations were abusing the country’s patronage, and are also stealing jobs that belong to Americans, while automatically defrauding the tax system of the required income revenues, among other things.
This has since resulted in a tit-for-tat showdown between the White House and the US Supreme Court as President Trump sought to enforce a ban mainly against Muslim countries, while tightening up on the visa regime for others.
However, Trump’s immigration directives are still stalled by several pending court actions, that will determine whether they can be enforced.
Alternatively, the White House has been examining other alternatives to stem the covert influx of illegal immigrants, in addition to persons who are abusing their visitors’ visas to work in the United States.
While hard data is hard to come by, combine statistics from at least two major airlines that fly to this country have revealed that the visitors’ visas of more than 200 Guyanese may have been canceled over the past 18 months alone.
This figure is based upon the number of “passenger return requests” that would have been made by US immigration authorities to at least three airlines that flies between the United States and Guyana.
These requests are usually made when a passenger was refused entry or otherwise cannot be allowed to enter the United States, and which would result in US Border agents requesting that the transporting airline accepts back the passenger for a return to the destination from which they came.
However, a passenger who is refused entry in one US does not generally return to their country as a deportee; and are therefore allowed to go through the normal immigration clearance procedures like any other returning citizen. Hence, some observers were quick to point out that the passenger return data that is kept by airlines will remain more reliable than what may be with the local immigration system.
In such a case, local authorities may be largely unaware of the number of persons that were actually refused entry in the US.
Several Guyanese have since confirmed to this publication that in recent weeks, most of them were only allowed to remain in the US for one month even though they had asked for more time, while others confirmed that their visas were canceled.
Guyanese are now cautioned against overstaying or working in the US when they are not authorized to do so, and against traveling to the US for other purposes other than what was specifically allowed for by their visas or by the interviewing immigration officer at the US port of entry.