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Why travelers are sent back to RP

By Lourdes Santos Tancinco
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 16:40:00 09/08/2008

Filed Under: Travel & Commuting, Tourism & Leisure, Tourism

AFTER A LONG and exhausting journey to the US, a traveler may find himself being sent back immediately to Manila in a process called expedited removal. ?Airport to airport? is the term used to describe this immediate deportation of travelers entering the US.

Marvin, for instance, was recently married to a US citizen. He used his B2 visa to enter the US to be with his spouse, who lives in San Francisco, CA. His B2 visa was issued five years ago and he had used it several times to enter the US. This time, when asked the purpose of his entry into the US, he said that he was married to a US citizen and intends to live with his wife in there. Marvin was subjected to a secondary inspection and asked to sign a statement. The Customs and Border Protection inspector denied Marvin?s entry and was told to obtain the proper visa to enter the US.

He was ?airport to airport? back to Manila. Thereafter his US citizen spouse filed an immigrant visa petition in his behalf.

Expedited removal

This expedited removal of arriving aliens was adopted over a decade ago and is found in Section 235 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This provision allows the Customs Border Protection (CBP) inspectors at ports of entry to order the summary removal of an ?arriving alien? upon determination of the existence of legal ground that warrants the denial of his/her admission.

Most non-immigrant visa holders are considered arriving aliens. Green card holders may be considered arriving aliens if they had been out of the US for an extended period of time. The determining factor in expedited removal is whether the individual has a valid visa to enter the US consistent with his/her intention of entering the country. Sometimes, the authenticity or identity of the travel documents may be put to question during primary inspection.

Secondary inspection

During primary inspection, the CBP officer questions the arriving alien on the purpose of the visit and the length of stay then examines the person?s passport. If there is doubt on the purpose of the visit or in the travel document, the alien is referred to a secondary inspection.

During secondary inspection, the individual is subjected to more questions about his/her intentions of entering the US. If there is a finding of lack of correct travel document, improperly issued visa, or lack of nonimmigrant and immigrant intent, the CBP inspector will ask more questions in writing. Form I-867B will be used in interviewing and writing the statement of the individual. After the interview, the CBP inspector will ask the individual to read and later sign this form. Corrections may be made on this form before signing.

Political asylum

After the completion of this Form I-867B, the CBP inspector will make a determination on whether to deport the individual immediately to the country of origin. While this is going on, the individual is held by the CBP without an opportunity for a hearing. A finding of expedited removal will subject the individual to CBP custody until the next outbound flight arrives. The individual may be detained several hours or even days under CBP custody while waiting to be sent back to his country of origin.

It is during the secondary inspection that the individual traveler is asked whether s/he claims a credible fear of persecution. This means a fear of returning to the Philippines for political reasons. If political asylum is asserted, the asylum officer will interview the individual but still subject him to detention.

The classic case of political asylum is that of Joc Joc Bolante who was detained while his political asylum was pending [It was denied.- Ed.] If political asylum is asserted at the port of entry, there must be a real, credible fear of persecution and not simply an escape strategy to prevent immediate deportation. In political asylum claims, individuals are entitled to a hearing before the immigration court.

No due process for aliens

Airport to airport is an extreme measure taken by immigration inspectors to ensure that individuals who do not deserve to enter the US are sent back immediately to their country of origin.

It is a very harsh rule as it is not unusual for a subject of expedited removal to be treated like a criminal. They are placed in a segregated, locked area, questioned extensively without attorneys and forced to sign a form which they may or may not fully understand.

Some individuals are not deserving of this treatment and may want to indicate their intention to withdraw their admission early in the process. Travelers are forewarned to be clear on their actual intentions consistent with the visa they are holding to avoid this brutal and unnecessary process from happening upon arrival in the US.

Tancinco may be reached at law@tancinco.com or at 8877177. To learn more about relevant immigration cases affecting Filipinos in the US, watch her Pusong Pinoy Sa Amerika aired at QTV every Sunday at 9 a.m.

Copyright 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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