Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Immigration Corner | Immigration facts in the age of Trump

Published:Tuesday | April 4, 2017 | 4:00 AM
US President Donald Trump

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I have been told that a large number of Jamaicans have been deported despite their papers being in order and them not being involved in crime. Is it true?

- D.S.

Dear D.S.,

There have been these rumours about US immigration since the beginning of 2017. The rumours serve to paralyse non-US citizens inside America and those persons outside the States who have relatives in America or who wish to travel to America.

With the advent of social media with its instant access to millions of people all over the world, rumours spread rapidly. These days, people with malicious intent purposely share misinformation on social media and others repeat the rumours as if factual and create confusion and chaos. There are many in our community who speak with self-directed authority on many subjects, and immigration law is one area many believe they have knowledge. Persons believe that because they may have successfully prepared their own immigration filing, it gives them authority to tell others how to prepare filings.

There have been rumours this year that only 100 US visas will be issued at the US embassy in Kingston - NOT TRUE. This rumour has caused persons in Jamaica to refrain from applying for non-immigrant visas. What is true is that there will be stricter scrutiny of applicants and, as always, any applicant for a visa must be truthful on their applications. Far too many people have fallen prey to persons who complete visa applications and answer the questions in a manner they think is most favourable to the applicant, even when not true.

Another and completely opposite rumour circulating on the Internet in the form of a news story is that Jamaicans no longer need a visa to travel to the US - NOT TRUE.

The executive orders issued by President Donald Trump regarding immigration have been misinterpreted by many persons, and this misinterpretation has translated into rumours and has caused persons to postpone travelling on their visas to the US; and some permanent residents with no criminal encounters refuse to leave the States.

In the specific rumour that you have mentioned, if anyone believes that they have been deported from the US without cause, they should immediately contact a US-based immigration lawyer to investigate their case. For those still in the States and in removal proceedings, they too should hire an immigration lawyer to represent them before the immigration court. Over the years, I have seen deported Jamaicans who believe they were removed illegally and their cases are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida. info@walkerhuntington.com