On Non Immigrant Visas and the American Consulate's Bad Faith

macocael

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I dont wish to use this forum to voice personal gripes, but my recent experience with the American consulate goes beyond the personal and ought to be reviewed by any American citizen with a conscience. Below here I reproduce an editorial I have sent to various media outlets, which is a slightly briefer version of a letter i have sent to my representatives back home (Clinton, Rangel, Perkins Scheiderman), as well as other influential leaders.

"I wish to take this opportunity to discuss what I consider to be a serious breach of the contract that we as Americans have with our consulates abroad. As a journalist I have lived and worked in many countries, and it has always been my understanding that our embassies exist to promote American interests and exemplify American values. That they should not only advocate such values, but embody them in their own practice. I have recently been confronted with a sorry example of failure in these matters that leaves me, quite frankly, somewhat stunned over the egregious hypocrisy that lies behind that failure.

I currently work in the Dominican Republic, and I am raising a family there. I choose to do so because in part my work requires it, and because I am genuinely dedicated to contributing something to that society as well as reporting on it. We are happy despite the inevitable struggles that accompany living in a developing nation, and my wife and I believe that our daughter benefits enormously from the kind of childhood she enjoys there. Thus it is with great consternation that I describe the following almost incomprehensible bad faith in regard to the treatment of foreign spouses legally married to American citizens. Since we are a binational family, we have two branches, and to ensure that they not become estranged, my wife and I planned to visit the American branch this summer while my daughter was free from school. My daughter enjoys dual citizenship, so travelling with her is not a problem, but my wife is Dominican and as such does not automatically qualify for a visa to the States that would allow her to visit with my family. She therefore dutifully applied for a non-immigrant tourist visa and carefully attended to every detail, providing legal paperwork that defined her solvency, properties and business holdings, her marriage to me, her motherhood ? in short, everything the consulate requires.

Despite some improvements, the process is still a bit confusing, poorly handled, and cloaked in some mystery. The day of the interview at the consulate arrived, and my wife showed up punctually with all her paperwork well organized. I accompanied her because I thought that the consulate might benefit from any information I could provide them (in addition to the letter of support I wrote for the file), and to assure them of what seemed to me at the time the glaringly obvious fact that my wife had no intention of immigrating, that my job and her businesses required that we reside in the Dominican Republic. I was told at the entrance of the consulate that I would not be allowed to enter. This struck me not only as odd but as a potential denial of my rights as a citizen: how can the consulate deny me my right to enter American soil in pursuit of what must be considered a legitimate claim on the government to honor my commitment to my wife and family? In this matter I am simply a family man who is trying to keep the family together.

My wife emerged downhearted from the interview process five hours later. They had rejected her application without even bothering to analyze all the paperwork. She reported that the consular official merely read the letter I wrote and consulted the bank?s letter ? he did not look at any of the legal papers relating to the property and businesses my wife owns, nor did he ask her about these matters. He asked if I were present and whether he could talk to me, but as I was not allowed to enter the consulate this was not possible, which he ought to have known, since that is the prevailing policy. It turns out that the consular official could have issued a pass at that point so that I be conducted to the interview at his behest, but he neglected to do so, I presume out of sheer laziness, because his entire conduct bespoke a kind of pretense of action that from the get go was never going to be accomplished. He had made up his mind long before he even saw my wife?s file, because in fact the consulate has a policy of automatically rejecting these applications. When we left the premises, several consular employees told us that ?they never give visas to the spouses of Americans.?

I realize that the consulate feels it must act decisively in the face of fraudulent applications and that there are Dominicans who have abused the good will of the American government (I have reported on these issues myself); but it strikes me as the height of hypocrisy to claim, as does the consular letter of rejection, that the Law of Immigration and Nationality ?presumes that every solicitant of a non-immigrant visa in reality intends to immigrate.? This astonishing statement just bowled me over. If this is so, why even bother with non-immigrant visas at all? It is all just for show, a pretense of fair minded arbitration that masks a malevolent intent. Moreover, what sense does it make to presume that every applicant is automatically trying to defraud the government? Our government and our businesses are there profiting to the tune of billions of dollars in trade, and yet when it comes to opening our doors to the Dominican people, we tell them that we cannot trust them, that we cannot have them visiting us, and that they are just out to con us. And they are charged a considerable sum to receive this slap in the face. The consulate is generating thousands of dollars a day while denying all these applications.

I ask you, what kind of justice can we expect in these matters when our consular officials behave in accordance with a policy that presumes guilt and offers only the semblance of a fair trial? And what does this say about the representation of our values overseas and our reputation as a nation that advocates social justice, due process, and the rule of law? The consulate has effectively placed itself above the law, since it states in the form letter given to rejected applicants that ?the decision taken today cannot be appealed.? And they do not bother to explain their reasons for rejecting any particular application. The whole process is discriminatory and conducted in a supercilious and high handed manner.

The bad faith at the core of these proceedings is just so execrable, so unworthy of us as a nation, that I still cannot quite wrap my mind around it. It is also unnecessary, and there?s the rub: if the consulate would work to make the process more efficient and also pay due attention to the criteria it sets out, I am sure that its officials could separate the wheat from the chaff and allow deserving applicants a chance to interact fruitfully with our society, which in the end, if you think about it, only serves to enhance our interests abroad. Every person who returns from the US is a kind of ambassador who brings new ideas to their society and with them the potential for beneficial change. Much of the progressive change taking place in the Dominican Republic today is coming from just such people. I thought that was the ultimate purpose of our legates abroad, but it would appear that I have too naively trusted in the stated ideals of our way of life. It is with great sadness that I write these words, but I am dumbfounded and sorely disappointed by what I discovered while blindly believing in the good will of my government."
 

sylindr

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This is also the case in Canada, and my question is the same, if you do not issue these visas then stop charging and taking applciations!! My husband was refused due to his reason for visiting Canada......the reason being to visit my family and friends!!! Why else would he accompany me to Canada.....what possible reason would have been acceptable in their eyes???? The answer is.....that was the ONLY reason they could come up with becasue he owns assets, works and does everything needed to be accepted for a visa!!!

They do not have a SCREENING process, it is just some high handed judgement and theft of our hard earned money!!!
 

RHM

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Sep 23, 2002
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That bugs me too about the money that the U.S. Embassy keeps. It must be a great revenue stream for them at USD$100 a whack.

I believe that the Spanish Embassy refunds your money if you are rejected.

RHM
 

Hillbilly

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Jan 1, 2002
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I think I would go as an American citizen, talk to one of the consular officials, show him the documentation of the case and appeal for a review of the case.
While it is true that from time to time (all too frequently, IMO) a person comes up against a consular official filling time (after all, they are pretty much on the bottom rung of the State Department) who has been fed up with all of the lies and tricks that people try to pull, and, as a result they just lash out....

I am sorry that this happened to your wife, and accepting your story as valid, it should not have happened. Therefore, I would appeal, as an American citizen. You can be heard.

HB
 
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lexi

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Jan 23, 2007
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Excellent letter. The money that both the US and Canadian Governments take to process these Visas is ridiculous because they never seem to hand any out. Then again if they didn't charge everyone, it would probably cost $100,000 just to get a visa based on the amount they do give out.
 

Ezequiel

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Jun 4, 2008
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I'm sorry Macocael about your wife! i see that they lied to you too. They do issues visa to wives of U.S citizens, my uncle is an American citizen and his wife is a Dominican citizen, and she has a tourist vista (valid for 10 yrs) which she had renewed without problem, i guess it all depend on the officer doing the interview.
 

Musicqueen

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Jan 31, 2002
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I have one question...Why haven't you applied for a visa for your wife? You can fill out form I-130 and have her obtain a multiple entry visa...where she can then visit the US as many times as she wants...and you can also then file for Adjustment of Status and she would become a lawful legal resident and in 3 years obtain her US Citizenship...

There's tons of info on this at Dominicans to the USA - Index, and very knowledgeable people to help you through this...

The chief consul, Mr. Bent, reads the site from time to time and can answer some questions for you if you so desire...

HB is right...some of those CO's are SOOO DAMN tired of hearing LIES and of people trying to cheat the system, that sometimes legitimate requests are denied...BUT there are ways to have someone else there look at your wife's paperwork...you should direct your energies towards that...to resolve the problem.

Good luck!!!
 

MikeFisher

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wow, that's hard stuff to take.
so maybe it would be the easier way for your wife to just apply for a tourist visa to visit her husband's birthcountry and family and friends as a tourist than to tell the truth that she wants to accompany her american citizen husband to visit the family, which is legally also HER family, over there.
i will (at least planned, lol) visit my birthcountry germany with my dominican wife and kid summer 2009, maybe x-mas 2009, and after reading that eyeopening post from a US citizen i will carefully check the procedures at the german embassy before i start to apply for anything. i visited germany in the past several times in company of dominican friends, males and females, for which i 'signed' the invitation so they could spend their vaca there together with me, in one case i signed it without visiting germany together, she flew over alone and travelled around and of course came back long before the Visa run out of time. i hope our german regulations did not change drastically towards what is described above in case of the US. doesn't have evey US citizen the right o marry a lady from what ever country/race aso and bring her home to his birthcountry?, for a vaca visit or even to spend the rest of his wife with her over there and raise the kids?
if they are legally married i would assume there should not be any problem to travel to the husband's homecountry?
looking forward to what will come up on that case,
a very interesting thread so.
happy weekend
Mike
 

SKY

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I posted this a year ago here and got a lot of disagreement form some Americans. I stood by it then and I stand by it now.

Old 08-01-2007, 09:11 AM
SKY
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If the US cares so much about it's citizens abroad, how come they treat all Americans like dogs in the US Embassy in SD?
 

NotLurking

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Jul 21, 2003
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macocael, I'm sorry to hear your spouse was refused a nonimmigrant visa but I'm not surprised. Can I assume that your spouse applied for a B1 or B2 nonimmigrant visa? If so, therein is the problem. Spouses of US citizens are considered "Immediate relatives" of a US citizen under INA 201(b)(2)(A)(i). Therefore, the alien spouse of a US citizen is afforded certain rights under INA not afforded other nonimmigrant visa applicants and the consular officers will usually reject nonimmigrant visa applications B1/B2 under these circumstances. The spouse of a US citizen is ALSO an immigrant! Spouses of US citizen wishing to enter the US should consider completing the US immigration process (file I-130 as mentioned by Musicqueen and also I-129F). I know this is not ideal to your situation but it might be the best way to proceed.

If you live in DR and do not wish to move to the US with your spouse in the future things can get a bit complicated.

Good luck,
NotLurking
 
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MikeFisher

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yeap Sky, good question,
but not only US embassy specific.
for a german visit in summer 2006 i started to contact the german embassy in st dgo about needed documentation/papers aso to bring my partners by that time 9 years old son with me, just him and me, without his father or mother, and of course the little one is dominican.
know what? i did not get the answers til today, i spent that vaca there alone. i contacted them by e-mails in german, spanish and english,i dropped countless phonecalls and til today i have no clue about "what would be needed" to do what i planned to do.
not that something got disapproved, i did not even get a chance to start a request to get something approved or disapproved.
reading in the papers about our embassy's big Fiestas aso always boils my blood, those big parties are paid by tax money of our homecountries, i still pay my taxes on house aso in germany, and what happen when you need them?
in that specific case, that a american citizen(or what ever country, would await that from other countries, too) is married to a foreign lady and want's to visit his own country with his wife and get's denied, that's the 100% opposite from what i name a free country with free people.
Mike
 

MikeFisher

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and that's the law/rule of a country who's citizens just need a huilty passport and to pay a $10.- tourist card at the airport to visit the islnad, even when not maried to a dominican. and they do not need to proof any bank account activities or such, we let even the poo spend their vacations over here.
Mike
 

Tamborista

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Apr 4, 2005
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and that's the law/rule of a country who's citizens just need a huilty passport and to pay a $10.- tourist card at the airport to visit the islnad, even when not maried to a dominican. and they do not need to proof any bank account activities or such, we let even the poo spend their vacations over here.
Mike


Mike:

I am sure you have no problem accepting Greenbacks to charter one of your boats for the day!

tambo'
 

boca chica dave

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Sep 25, 2004
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This is very unfortunate and yet it is the way they operate. Several years ago my wife applied for a tourist visa and was flatly denied. The next time I went with her, no questions asked to enter. The interviewer glanced at the papers, asked my wife a brief question or 2 and then asked me what I was after. Told him I was worried I might get sick, lose my time off from work and not be able to see each other. He gave her a tourist visa for one year and said they would monitor travel. She came here 3 times on the visa. When she went to renew I figured it would be a cake walk-- the interviewer told her - you are married and not living together no visa! I appealled it thru my congressman here. After 6-8 weeks I re'cd the response from the section chief in SD to my congressman's office. She cited all the tipical crap of not enough money, homes,good job etc. and standing by some directive or law. Not what my wife was told. I called my congressman's office and had a lenghtly chat. The guy that handled our case told me he was amazed that we ever got the 1st visa, that they never do that with married people and we were very lucky. HB probably has it right. These people have heard every story and lie there is and are fed up. There is no consistency. Tell you one thing and doc. the file with something else. Since 9-11 and homeland security they can do what they like. I originally checked with and old friend retired about a yr. from the state dept. then. He made some calls and ran into a wall. He said prior to 9-11 he could have made one phone call and all would have been done. It' a shame to be treated this way especially with the child. We are forced to do the wait, file for spousal visas or as some people have mentioned other forms and pay the loot. Please keep us informed. Maybe with all the NY congress folks harrassing them you'll get something. Good Luck!!
 

MikeFisher

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Dave,
that sound's like your country kick'smhis people out because they get married to a dominican woman. and most of them are not that rich to show bank papers, so if you are not a rich american who can open big additional bank accounts you can not visit your homecountry with your wife and kids. maybe those laws are just made for the rich guy like so many laws are. what's the next step: loosing your born citizenship because you visited a country where moslems live?
i am not trying to offend, i am writing out my very own opinion, and the denying of a visa for the wife and the kids of a citizen can not be the law nor rule in immigrantion's behavior of a "free" country.
Tambo,
sorry, did not get your point what my business has to do with the discussion of the facts of the US immigrantion's handling of their citizens.
Mike
 

SKY

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I will give anyone that wants to know a good tip for a Dominican to get a Visa from the lice at the US Embassy.

Instead of jumping through all the hoops, just get a Visa for another country, like Venezuela for example. Easy to get for a Dominican, no bank accounts necessary. Go to Venezuela and come back. Maybe one more country if you can afford it. Turks and Caicos is a cinch Visa. Anyway the imbeciles at the US Embassy look very carefully at your passport for other Visas. This is their top priority in granting a Visa to the US. That you visited another country and came back.