Questions and answers
US IMMIGRATION NOTES - Atty. Marco F.G. Tomakin (The Freeman) - January 12, 2020 - 12:00am

For this week, let us take a couple of readers’ questions:

Q1: With the growing tension now between US and Iran, what are the possible effects it may have on current US immigration policies and practices?

A1: This is a very legitimate question. While there has been no clear indication that a war between these two countries in imminent, the US has issued notices that warn its citizens from visiting and staying in highly-vulnerable countries such as Iraq and other Middle East countries. Directly, one can see more strict implementation of background checks and security-related evaluation of visa applicants from these countries.

Also, all US embassies and consulates around the world are expected to beef up their protective measures in order to ensure that no terrorist gains access to these offices. Some consulates may be closed or have reduced hours, so expect delayed interview appointment dates, longer lines of waiting to be processed and in some counties, applicants may need to be interviewed at some other neighboring consulates.

Q2: How does Mr. Trump’s impeachment woes affect US immigration?

A2: Each day that Congress focuses its energies on getting Mr. Trump ousted through impeachment, is a day lost on Congress working on equally pressing national issues such as healthcare, growing economy, jobs, and in our case, immigration.

With an already divided Congress coupled with the reciprocal distrust between the two national parties, one can never expect to have a meaningful comprehensive immigration law reform to be passed in the near term.

Q3: What could be the possible effects if President Duterte imposes his plan requiring visas for US citizens entering the Philippines?

A3: Requiring visas for US citizens may be a popular move for some, I do not see any enduring benefit in the long term. Americans have a wide array of countries to choose from as they consider their vacation plans. With cheaper travel destinations in and around Asia, imposing undue restrictions to tourists and potential investors would only encourage US citizens to go somewhere else instead.

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