During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump said that the U.S. must suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until the vetting methods are improved.
Well, we now know that he’s making good on that campaign promise. Not only has he stopped the entry of refugees into America, he has also ordered not only the scrutiny but also the barring of green card and U.S. visa holders from entering or re-entering the country.
Sure, the order concerns individuals from specific Muslim countries (except those that the U.S. has business relations with), but who’s to say that Trump’s list will not be expanded to many others, including the Philippines? After all, he once specifically mentioned an undocumented immigrant from the Philippines who was let into the country and was convicted for plotting to join Al Qaeda and the Taliban. With the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines being linked to Al Qaeda, who’s to say that Trump won’t consider including the country among those that “have been compromised by terrorism?”
Trump’s immigration policy is bad news for Filipinos, including the hundreds of thousands who have been waiting in line to have their immigrant visas processed.
There is already a huge backlog for immigrant petitions involving Filipinos.
The January, 2017 visa bulletin from the U.S. State Department shows the following:
This means that if you are an unmarried son or daughter of a U.S. citizen, your immigrant petition will be processed only if it had been filed on or before October 1, 2005! For brothers or sisters of adult U.S. citizens, only petitions filed as of June 8, 1993 are currently being processed!
The sad truth is that Trump’s immigration “policy,” will not make the long wait any easier. On the contrary, the process of legal immigration, as slow-paced as it already is, could face further scrutiny, especially with Republicans controlling both houses of U.S. Congress.
Lastly, Filipinos should be concerned not only about immigrant petitions. Those seeking to visit the U.S. on a tourist visa could face challenges as well.
Already, Trump’s Executive Order suspends the U.S. Visa Interview Waiver Program. This is a program for foreign citizens who are frequent visitors to the U.S. When their visa expires, they will now have to have a face-to-face interview with a US consular officer. Previously, they can just simply drop off their passports at a consulate to get their visas renewed.
Filipinos with multiple entry visas to the U.S. would face the same requirement once their visas expire.
Oh, you’re a dual citizen you say? You’re not totally secure. Who knows what Trump will think of next.
Already, the Executive Order also applies to people who originally hail from the identified countries but are traveling on a passport issued by any other nation. That means, for example, that Iraqis seeking to enter the U.S. on a British passport will be barred. British citizens don’t normally require a visa to enter the U.S.
Could this be part of Trump’s “America First” pronouncement?
Under Trump, the “American Dream” is looking more and more like an “American Nightmare!”