Bloggings on Immigration Law


by

Danielle Beach-Oswald




Bloggings: Going Paperless! New Arrival/Departure-Record I-94 Process for Foreign Visitors, by Danielle Beach-Oswald







Going-paperless


 


The most
significant white I-94 card stapled to the visa of passports for nonimmigrant
foreign nationals in land and seaports around the United States is a familiar
image to many travelers.  This form is
used to prove admission to the United States and determines the length of time
one many stay. The United States Customs and Border Protection recently
announced its implementation of a new automated I-94 entry process, effective April
30, 2013
where the I-94 becomes
paperless.  What does this change mean
for travelers and governmental processes?


The US
Department of Homeland Security cites that this new measure will, “streamline
the entry process for travelers, facilitate security and reduce federal costs,
saving the agency an estimated $15.5 million a year”.  This will decrease the usual paperwork
substantially both for travelers and immigration officers.  While some people are under the impression
that this signifies a complete change and may worry about the unavailability of
these forms for reference, that is not the case.  Travelers requesting the document as evidence
of admission for an immigration matter, proof of status, applying for a
driver’s license in some states, work authorization, personal record or any
other reason will be able to have the hard copy.  The printed copy will be available on www.cbp.gov/I94 to retrieve
their electronically submitted data.  Moreover,
officers will continue to issue the usual admission stamp on passports,
accompanied by a note detailing the nonimmigrant’s status and time
authorization of the visit.


In recent years
with the green revolution and our efforts at becoming more environmentally
friendly, traveler information is gradually being accumulated through
electronic databases so the paperless I-94 is not a new idea.  Post 9/11 initiatives have already aimed at
accumulating more data on the population; so much of the traveler’s identities
have been in the government’s data system for quite some time. 


As with every
new measure the paperless I-94 initiative will necessitate some time to be
fully adjusted and applied throughout the United States.  Travelers will have to:



  • Find access to
    the Internet.

  • Enter certain
    passport information in order to access the electronic I-94. 

  • Companies and
    employers will have to learn to accept the hard copy printouts of the
    electronic I-94 data. 


However, the
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will still require the hard
copy I-94 from applicants even if the visitor does not receive the copy upon
entry.  Other government agencies such as
the Social Security Administration will also require a paper copy to ascertain
whether a foreign national may receive certain benefits.


Ultimately, even
though initially some slight complications may emerge on all fronts:  travelers, companies, and government agencies
will have to adjust to the new change as a better alternative.  So many facets of our everyday lives are
becoming automated and a development such as a paperless I-94 is
inevitable.  The economic and practical
benefits substantially outweigh the initial costs of adjusting to the change.


To view the
implementation schedule at various ports, please see the following link:


http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/i-94_instructions/i94_rollout.xml








Bloggings: Benefit Not Burden -- Consular Non-reviewability -- Consular’s Office Decision to Deny, Rarely Reversed, by Danielle Beach-Oswald






 


Visa_stamp
The “Doctrine of Consular Non-reviewability” may be a concept unfamiliar to many yet it is very important for anyone outside the country desiring to enter the United States with a visa. When an individual is not on U.S. soil, he must go through the U.S. Department of State and visit a consulate abroad in their home country in order to attain a visa.


The problem confronting visa applicants is that no system of external oversight exists within a consulate for visa issuance decisions. This essentially
enables the consulate office to express bias and employ inconsistent standards.
Consular processing is required when the intending immigrant is not physically
located in the United States and therefore has to request a visa in order to
legally enter the country. It is disconcerting since this doctrine allows a
consulate to issue a denial without an explicit set of evidence present to
explain the outcome. This leaves visa applicants helpless without any chance
for appeal or external review.


A recent case in Afghanistan
brought attention to the issue regarding a couple, Fauzia Din, a U.S.
citizen and her fiancée, Kanishka Berashk. Mr. Berashk did have an approved
visa petition from USCIS based on marriage yet while waiting for his visa
interview, the situation changed. Unfortunately, his visa application was
denied and the only justification given was denial based on Section 212(a) of
the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) which includes several
terrorism-related grounds for excluding non-U.S. citizens from the country[1]. The
“terrorism-related grounds” were based on Mr. Berashk’s job as a payroll clerk,
performing low-level administrative duties at the Afghan Ministry of Social
Welfare. This charge may seem absurd, yet since Afghanistan
was controlled by the Taliban at one point many Afghani citizens have faced
similar accusations from U.S.
government officials. The U.S. Department of State under the doctrine of
consular nonreviewability is not responsible for justifying its lack of action
or rejection of a visa application. Din filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government
to adjudicate her husband’s visa application but the complaint was dismissed
due to the protections of consular denials from judicial review.


It is pertinent that an applicant and his attorney be fully
aware of the exact explanation of a denial for a visa application. Without this
knowledge, there is no opportunity to dispute incorrect information. Currently,
consular nonreviewability does not allow for the needed transparency. The U.S.
Department of State consistently defends this doctrine in the hopes of
“protecting our borders”. It is of course appropriate that the United States
has this far-reaching authority in order to keep the country secure by deciding
who should be permitted to enter the borders. Yet, there are also regulations
in place, which define the limitations of this authority, and they must be
followed. Decisions must be evaluated, regardless if they are being made under
the roof of a consulate. A highly criticized doctrine such as this must be
amended because the justification for maintaining the status quo is simply too
weak and the complaints against it continue to rise.











About The Author





Danielle Beach-Oswald is the current President and Managing Partner of Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates in Washington, DC. Ms. Beach utilizes her 19 years of experience in immigration law to help individuals immigrate to the United States for humanitarian reasons. Born in Brussels, Belgium, Ms. Beach has lived in England, Belgium, Italy and Ivory Coast and has traveled extensively to many countries. Ms. Beach advocates for clients from around the world who seek freedom from torture in their country, or who are victims of domestic violence and trafficking. She has also represented her clients at U.S. Consulates in Romania, China, Canada, Mexico, and several African countries. With her extensive experience in family-based and employment-based immigration law Ms. Beach not only assists her clients in obtaining a better standard of living in the United States, she also helps employers obtain professional visas, and petitions for family members. She also handles many complex naturalization issues. Ms. Beach has unique expertise representing clients in immigration matters pending before the Federal District Courts, Circuit Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals and Immigration Courts. She has won over 400 humanitarian cases in the United States. Her firm's website is www.boilapc.com.









The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.