No one knows exactly how many undocumented Filipinos are currently in the U.S., but there are media reports that an estimated 300,000 are included in the Trump administration’s current deportation list. Whether these are Pinoys who have overstayed their visas, committed crimes, or both, remain unclear.
But it is not only undocumented Filipinos that could face the consequences of the tough anti-immigrant policies of Trump. Those in line for approval of their immigrant petitions can expect to add more years, if not decades to their waiting game. Also, those who have been, or planning on visiting U.S.-based relatives may soon experience increased challenges.
As many Filipinos can attest, seeking tourist or immigrant visas to the U.S. is just like going through the eye of a needle. Denials and more delays can only be expected.
The New York Times reports that the Trump administration is making it tougher for millions of visitors to enter the United States by demanding new security checks before giving visas to tourists, business travelers and relatives of American residents.
Diplomatic cables sent last week from Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson to all American embassies instructed consular officials to broadly increase scrutiny. It was the first evidence of the “extreme vetting” Mr. Trump promised during the presidential campaign.
And while initially, the tough travel restrictions have been focused on Muslim countries and those with reported links to terrorist activities (read: Abu Sayyaf), it is not a remote possibility that more stringent vetting will face citizens of countries with huge numbers of visa applicants. Like the Philippines.
In a previous post, Politikal Pinoy suggested that it was perhaps time for the Philippines to pursue a truly ‘reciprocal’ immigration policy with the United States whereby U.S. citizens will now be required to secure a travel visa when visiting the country.
This new pronouncement from the Trump administration could only support our view.