Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Mesaĝo de Mark Rosenshield

Thank you for your concern in this matter. I cannot speak about the specifics of a particular person’s case, though I am happy to provide you with some general information to help you better understand the issue.

If an applicant has ever been convicted of a crime, he/she must come to the Embassy to have an officer determine whether a visa can be issued. If the conviction was of a serious nature (i.e. it involved “moral turpitude” because it stemmed from damage to people or property), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) makes the final determination on whether the person is admissible to the United States. This is a system of checks and balances. By having two government agencies vet the applicant, we seek to avoid making mistakes and allowing someone into our country who should not come in. It does not mean that a particular person is undesirable. There is a vast range of legal systems throughout the world, with different procedures for documenting a criminal record. In order to ensure fairness and consistency, these decisions are made centrally at DHS in the U.S. This can take a number of weeks, so we advise applicants to apply early. We have explained this to the Welsh authorities and they have on multiple occasions urged those participating in the Folklife Festival to apply for their visas early enough to allow time for our processing.

Many applicants with minor convictions or a record that proves they are now law-abiding citizens get visas from the U.S. Embassy in London, after approval from DHS of course. I noticed that at least one article about this case referred to a “lifetime ban.” Only a few specific circumstances actually result in a lifetime ban. In most cases, the person simply must have a valid visa in order to enter the United States. We routinely issue visas for extended periods of time and for multiple visits, so many applicants need to come to the Embassy only when their visas expire, not every time they want to travel to the U.S.

Let me reiterate that the discussion above is a general one and privacy concerns prevent me from commenting on the specifics of a particular case. I hope this helps you understand the process at work here, which requires that we apply U.S. immigration law in a consistent fashion.

Mark Rosenshield
Welsh Affairs Officer - Swyddog Materion Cymreig
Embassy of the United States of America - Llysgenhadaeth Unol Daleithiau America
24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE
Tel/Ffon: 020 7894 0131
Mobile/Ffon Symudol: 078 0167 0693
[*** Facebook grupo establiĝis subteni Arfon Gwilym. Klaku ĉi tie vidi ĝin.]

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