Q & A during immigration clinic
US IMMIGRATION NOTES - Atty. Marco F.G. Tomakin (The Freeman) - August 18, 2019 - 12:00am

Last weekend I was invited by the Hiligaynon Community of Texas based in Dallas to assist their members with any immigration issues. Amidst the sweltering heatwave, which is considered normal Texas weather at this time of the year, I had the opportunity to listen to the concerns of fellow Filipinos in the area. Here are some of the questions and answers:

Q1: I filed a petition for my sister years ago. I checked the latest visa bulletin and it seems her priority date will be current a few months from now. She has a tourist visa which will expire in a few more years. Should she come to the US using her tourist visa and just wait until her priority date becomes current and just apply for a greencard?

A1. This is a frequent question I get and every time I answer by way of a question. What is your intent in going to the US using a tourist visa? If you are using your B1/B2 visa to visit family, friends, or conduct some business which are all appropriate undertakings under a tourist visa, then you are not trudging into potential trouble. But if you want to use your tourist visa to work or in the situation described above, then you are inviting further scrutiny by immigration authorities for possible misrepresentation or even fraud. Going to the US to wait for the priority date to be current itself is possible misrepresentation. The better alternative is just to wait for the priority date to be current while in the Philippines and process the immigrant visa application.

Q2. My elderly father is a permanent resident. He wants to go back to the Philippines and says he might not return to the US. We are concerned that as someone who has some serious medical issues, he may not have the same level of medical care and quality of life.

A2. This is a very common scenario. A parent is petitioned by a US citizen child who hoped that by doing so, she would be able to take care of him in his senior years. The problem is that after all the costs and the time spent for the petition process, he doesn’t like living in the US. This is especially true when the parent is old enough to work, speaks minimal English, and doesn’t have any other friends or relatives aside from immediate family. Most parents choose to go back to the Philippines and spend their remaining years with the familiar environment and other family members, friends, and relatives and I don’t blame them. America can be a boring and lonely place for seniors without enough social support. What I normally advise is for the parent to apply for a reentry permit while still in the US. The reentry permit is good for two years and serves to maintain and preserve permanent residency. That way, if the parent changes his mind, he can return to the US without jeopardizing his greencard status.

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