Integrity Legal

Archive for the ‘USCBP’ Category

29th January 2017

For those who have been following the news in recent days it is not new information that President Donald Trump has signed new executive orders with respect to US immigration and travelers from various countries. Effectively, these orders ban certain foreign nationals from obtaining a visa to the USA or entering the USA for at least 90-120 days. Although at present it appears that these orders will only directly impact nationals of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen there are certain aspects of the order which may impact the US immigration process in a broad sense. For example so-called “extreme vetting” protocols which these orders call for may conceivably be implemented by State Department personnel worldwide in connection with the US visa process. Furthermore, it now appears that those who already hold green cards, but are outside of the USA may be turned away by United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) or be required to undergo further screening which was not required for reentry to the USA in the past.

Many following this story may be asking themselves: by what authority is the President able to impose these recent restrictions? Pursuant to 8 U.S. Code § 1182:

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.

It should further be noted that the same statute goes on to mention that the Attorney General has specific powers with regard to the aforementioned issue:

Whenever the Attorney General finds that a commercial airline has failed to comply with regulations of the Attorney General relating to requirements of airlines for the detection of fraudulent documents used by passengers traveling to the United States (including the training of personnel in such detection), the Attorney General may suspend the entry of some or all aliens transported to the United States by such airline.

Clearly, the President has statutory authority to impose restrictions like those recently created by Trump. The section regarding the power of the Attorney General in this regard is mentioned because in many cases individuals affected by these new rules will be denied the ability to board an airline bound for the USA as airlines and airline personnel do not wish to be the subject of fines and sanctions associated with transporting someone to the USA who has a strong chance of being refused entry.

As of the time of this writing, it remains to be fully seen exactly how these recent executive orders will play out. This is especially true in light of the fact that certain legal actions have resulted in court orders against implementation of these initiatives. Notwithstanding these developments it is very likely that many of the recently enacted restrictions will remain, at least for practical purposes, in place in the foreseeable future.

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10th November 2016

In light of recent events in the United States election and the campaign promises made by the now President-elect, it seems appropriate to assume that Immigration matters will likely come to the forefront of American political discussion. For this reason, this blogger finds it relevant to provide an overview of the Immigration apparatus and how the components function.

In order to understand U.S. Immigration matters and the enforcement of U.S. Immigration law one must first understand the Department of Homeland Security. This Department oversees most of the Immigration matters arising in the United States (The Department of State deals with matters pertaining to US visas issued abroad, for more information on the role DOS plays in the immigration process please check out the many pages on this blog dedicated to Consular Processing information).

There are three agencies under the jurisdiction of DHS which deal with different aspects of Immigration law and policy. The first agency that many intending immigrant will no doubt have had dealings with is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service or USCIS. This agency is tasked with adjudicating petitions for immigration benefits such as immigrant visas, work visas, and certain temporary stay visas. Furthermore, the USCIS also adjudicates I-601 waivers of inadmissibility as well as I-212 waivers for those who have previously been subjected to expedited removal. Those wishing to travel from abroad to the United States on some sort of immigrant or work authorized visa will likely have contact with USCIS.

Another component of DHS which deals with Immigration is the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service or USICE. USICE is often the agency tasked with ascertaining the legal status of foreign nationals physically present in the USA and if found to be present in the USA illegally USICE agents are tasked with apprehending such individuals and placing them in deportation proceedings.

Finally, there is the United States Customs and Border Protection Service or USCBP. In the US visa process, USCBP is arguably the most overlooked yet one of the most significant agencies an intending immigrant will deal with. Unbeknownst to most, notwithstanding the issuance of a valid visa, USCBP has the authority to turn away any alien attempting to enter the USA. In actual practice, an alien with a validly issued visa is unlikely to be refused admission at a port of entry, but it can happen. In most cases such refusal is due to a belief on the part of a USCBP officer that an alien attempting to enter the USA on a non-immigrant visa in fact has immigrant intent. This happens frequently to tourist visa holders who are attempting to conduct a so-called visa run in order to remain in the USA. In those cases involving immigrant spouses of US citizens holding visas such as the K-3, the CR-1, or the IR-1 refusal to admit the alien spouse is quite rare. The same can be said for foreign fiancees of US Citizens holding a K-1 visa, but the fact that USCBP has plenary power to turn away any alien seeking admission should not be forgotten.

Meanwhile in an interesting article in The Intercept, it was noted that certain documents have come to light which apparently show that although USCBP has traditionally recognized law enforcement functions (especially with respect to Customs matters) they also work with the FBI in matters not routinely thought of when pondering USCBP’s role. To quote directly from the aforementioned article:

“It is no surprise that law enforcement closely monitors border crossings for criminals or terror suspects. The initiatives described in these documents, however, are explicitly about gathering intelligence, not enforcing the law. A person doesn’t have to be connected to an active investigation or criminal suspect in order to be flagged; the FBI might want them for their potential to provide general intelligence on a given country, region, or group. The goal, according to an FBI presentation on an initiative at Boston’s Logan Airport, is “looking for ‘good guys’ not ‘bad guys.’”

Although immigration matters are often viewed as a “boring” aspect of the United States bureaucracy it should be noted that agents of the Department of Homeland Security play a significant role in maintaining the security of the USA and assist even in the gathering of intelligence.

Although the ultimate policies of the new administration regarding immigration matters remain to be seen it seems logical to infer that should the administration wish to make the immigration process more difficult for foreign nationals, then the sophisticated mechanisms mentioned above would likely have the capacity to make certain that such a course of events actually transpires.

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18th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) is apparently poised to begin issuing new identification cards to participants in the Global Entry Program. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of USCBP, CBP.gov:

Washington – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today announced that Global Entry members will now be issued a Global Entry version of the SENTRI card which allows expedited entry into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico using the NEXUS, SENTRI and Ready Lanes at land ports of entry. The new card operates as a SENTRI card for Global Entry members. The Global Entry card is a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology-enabled document that may be used by U.S. citizens when entering the U.S. through a land or sea port of entry from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean…

Readers are strongly encouraged to click upon the aforementioned hyperlinks noted above to read this information in detail.

Frequent readers may recall that the Global Entry Program was purportedly created in an effort to streamline the process of entering the United States for American Citizens. How the creation of new identity cards will facilitate this program remains to be seen, but hopefully such developments will be beneficial for all concerned.

In news pertaining to the economies which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam), it recently came to this blogger’s attention that some commentators are noting positive economic developments in the region. To quote directly from the Money Control website, MoneyControl.com:

ASEAN economy has proven itself to be resilient, but there are lingering challenges and risks, including the sovereign debt crisis and fiscal problems in some developed markets, rising food and commodity prices, and continued financial market stresses…According to the ASEAN secretariat’s press release received yesterday, ASEAN’s recovery as a whole has matured as both exports and domestic demand fueled growth to expand by 7.5% last year. Intra-regional trade and investment flows also showed an upward momentum and are likely to support domestic growth this year, which is projected between 5.7% and 6.4%. ASEAN`s merchandise trade grew at 32.9% last year, as trade value jumped from USD 1.54 trillion in 2009 to USD 2.04 trillion last year, after the 19% decline in 2009,” according to ASEAN`s high ranking officials as quoted by the secretariat. As an attractive foreign direct investment (FDI) destination, ASEAN has maintained its allure…

The administration of this blog recommends that readers click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

As ASEAN jurisdictions continue to be “alluring” to foreign investors it stands to reason that further economic growth can be expected in the future. That stated, as ASEAN has a unique Constitution in much the same way that each of her component jurisdictions have unique Constitutions one can easily infer that the trajectory and complexion of the economic growth and innovation in the coming years may be quite unlike anything seen in recent memory. For instance, the ramifications of a unified ASEAN visa much akin to the Schengen visa scheme in the European Community could be economically explosive while such a visa scheme could be custom tailored to the unique needs and desires of both ASEAN as a whole and her member nations.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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11th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that officials from the jurisdictions which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are being encouraged to implement the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from a fascinating article posted to the Live Trading News website, LiveTradingNews.com:

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Wednesday was urged to implement the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2015 timely. “This year’s ASEAN Economic Ministerial meeting takes place at a critical juncture when there is so much uncertainty about the global economy given the fiscal situations in the United States and members of the European Union. From Indonesia’s perspective, it is imperative that ASEAN implements the AEC Blueprint 2015 on time as this will bring benefits to all of its members and allow ASEAN to grow together with our dialogue partners,” said Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu…

Readers are encouraged to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

Those who read this web log with any frequency may be aware of the fact that there have been many significant developments pertaining to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). One major announcement, from this blogger’s perspective, was the broaching of the subject of a possibly unified ASEAN visa similar to the Schengen visa scheme currently utilized in Europe. Concurrently, in the context of the Kingdom of Thailand; there has been discussion surrounding the idea of creating Thailand Plazas throughout the ASEAN jurisdictions in order to promote Thai business interests in the region. With respect to geopolitics, ASEAN has been in the news recently as this organization seems poised to eventually promulgate a formal declaration with respect to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. How such matters will ultimately evolve remains to be seen.

In news pertaining to United States immigration, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Governor of the sovereign State of Arizona has petitioned for Supreme Court review of that State’s recently enacted immigration law. In order to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of Politico, Politico.com:

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced late Wednesday she has filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to consider her state’s appeal to a lower court ruling that put on hold key parts of Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law. “I am hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will choose to take this case and issue much-needed clarity for states, such as Arizona, that are grappling with the significant human and financial costs of illegal immigration,” Brewer said in a statement released by her office. “For too long the Federal government has turned a blind eye as this problem has manifested itself in the form of drop houses in our neighborhoods and crime in our communities. SB1070 was Arizona’s way of saying that we won’t wait patiently for federal action any longer. If the federal government won’t enforce its immigration laws, we will.” Brewer, a Republican, vowed this spring to take the case to the high court after a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejecting her motion to throw out a district court’s ruling that blocked implementation of parts of the law. The deadline to do so was Wednesday…

This blogger asks interested readers to click upon the relevant links above to read this article in detail.

As noted previously on this web log, the powers related to immigration and often wielded by the federal legislature and the federal executive are plenary in nature as immigration is one of the relatively few areas in which the United States federal government maintains virtually unfettered seemingly exclusive jurisdiction. That stated, how said jurisdiction interrelates with reserved States’ Rights and prerogatives is an interesting and almost interminably unsettled question. Hopefully, the Supreme Court of the United States can provide insight into these issues and possibly delineate a framework which will facilitate a better understanding of all of these issues and their interaction within the context of the United States Constitution.

For information related to US immigration from the Kingdom of Thailand please see: K1 Visa Thailand.

For information pertaining to general legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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26th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) may have witnessed what would appear to have been an inadvertent breach of the American border by a convoy of Mexican troops. In order to provide further insight into these developments it may be prudent to quote directly from the official website of the NBC affiliate KGNS-TV at Pro8News.com:

A convoy of three military trucks loaded with Mexican soldiers crosses the border at Bridge Number Two clearly violating  international law. It happens as Customs and Border Protection inspectors try to figure out what to do. A CBP spokesperson says they got on the phone with Mexican authorities after being alerted that the military trucks were heading their direction loaded down with soldiers and weapons. Mexican leaders say the soldiers, who had just been deployed to Nuevo Laredo, didn’t know the area, got lost and then made their way through Bridge Two. It’s important to note that CBP did not tell us about the potentially serious situation. It came from another law enforcement agency…

This blogger strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn more from this informative article as well as the video coverage of this event.

Readers may be taken somewhat aback upon learning of some of these events as it is not everyday that Americans see such developments. That stated, this blogger would feel somewhat remiss if he failed to bring up a  similar incident which occurred in Spain a little over 9 years ago, if only to provide some perspective. To quote directly from a 2002 article posted on the official website of CNN, CNN.com:

British troops temporarily invaded Spain when a landing exercise on Gibraltar went wrong. About 20 Royal Marines landed in bad weather on a Spanish beach, thinking they were on British territory. They hastily retreated after locals told them of their error… Spain’s foreign ministry played down the incident as a harmless error that would not undermine negotiations aimed at resolving the Gibraltar issue…

Those interested in the full details of the aforementioned event are encouraged to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to ascertain the whole story.

Clearly, even in an international context, accidents can happen. Inadvertent mistakes can occur. Hopefully these events will be a lesson to America’s public servants about the need to anticipate unexpected events. This blogger must state that in all of his rather limited dealings with USCBP personnel they have comported themselves in a very professional manner. To be candid, USCBP has one of the more difficult jobs in all of the pantheon of American civil service as their responsibilities place USCBP officers in situations where they encounter the most unexpected events (as can be seen from the aforementioned quotation). It is likely hoped that these circumstances will provide insight to future officers. On a side note: unless there has been some very recent change of which this blogger is unaware, the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) currently chairs the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Sub-committee on Customs Procedures. This post was handed off from the Japan Customs and Tariff Bureau in September of last year.

In somewhat related news it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Foreign Minister of Singapore has noted his belief that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) may have a role in dealing with tensions arising in the South China Sea. To quote directly from the website of Channel News Asia, ChannelNewsAsia.com:

INDONESIA: Singapore said ASEAN can play a role managing territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The resource rich waters are being claimed – in part or all – by a number of ASEAN countries, as well as China and Taiwan. Tensions recently escalated between the Philippines and China over overlapping claims. Singapore’s Foreign Minister K Shanmugam said all parties must learn to resolve these occasional incidences, without increasing tension…

The administration of this web log asks readers to click upon the appropriate hyperlinks above to read this story in detail.

Clearly, the nations which compose ASEAN (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) are going to be increasingly important in any international dialogue pertaining to the South China Sea. The news noted above comes amidst developing news regarding talks between the United States and China. It would appear as though one of the main objectives of these talks is the maintenance of freedom of navigation at sea. However, maintaining such freedom can often require timely discussions especially in geographic areas with a history of tension. To quote further from ChannelNewsAsia.com:

HONOLULU, Hawaii : The United States and China were holding first-of-a-kind talks Saturday on rising tensions in the South China Sea, with Beijing angry over Washington’s support of Southeast Asian countries. Senior officials of the Pacific powers were meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, days after the United States rallied behind the Philippines and Vietnam which have been alarmed at what they see as Beijing’s growing assertiveness at sea. Kurt Campbell, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said ahead of the talks that he would make clear to China the “strong principles” of the United States in defence of freedom of navigation…[sic]

This blogger encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to learn more.

Disputes occurring on the high seas can sometimes have implications for virtually every country around the world. As Southeast Asian nations continue to thrive and expand both in a domestic economic context as well as in an international economic context it stands to reason that their growth may be concerning to other jurisdictions in Asia. Meanwhile, the increasing prominence of the so-called BRICS countries in an international context has raised discussion regarding the geopolitical complexion of the future global economy. Hopefully, discussions pertaining to all of these matters will yield tangible benefits for the people who could be most impacted by events occurring in this region.

For information about conducting business in the United States of America please see: US Company Registration.

For information about legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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30th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that an increase in Asian consumerism may have a possible impact upon the global economy overall. To quote directly from a recent article written by Gregory White and posted on the website of Business Insider, BusinessInsider.com:

Yesterday, we told you about the Soc Gen research note “The China Domino has Fallen!” and its alarming conclusion that the world needs to expect significantly more inflation in the near term. Included in that report is a rather complex, but explanative chart, on just why this is happening. It displays the global supply and demand curve. While there are a great deal of variables at work here, the key, according to Soc Gen’s latest, is the expected surge in Asian consumers from China’s rebalancing…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks noted above to learn more.

It stands to reason that as an economy as substantial as that of China makes its presence increasingly felt in the world economy the other players in the world economy will feel the ramifications of economic activity occurring in China and the surrounding region. To a lesser degree, the same might also be said for economic activity occurring in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as such activity can have ramifications for economic actors in other parts of the world. That stated, it seems unlikely that ASEAN‘s economic impact upon the global economy of the future will be as significant as that of China since China’s economy is more cohesive and streamlined compared to the more loosely arranged economies of ASEAN.

In other news pertaining to China it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Chinese island of Taiwan may soon be the site of robotic immigration checkpoints at some point in the future. To quote directly from an article written by Loa lok-sin posted on the official website of the Taipei Times, TaipeiTimes.com:

In a few years, visitors could pass through unmanned immigration booths following instructions given by smiling robots when they step off the plane at Taiwan’s international airports, National Immigration Agency (NIA) -Director–General Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功) said yesterday. The first unmanned immigration inspection booths were installed on Tuesday at Shueitou Pier (水頭碼頭) in Kinmen County, from which ferries depart to Xiamen, China. “At this point, automatic immigration inspection booths have been installed only at Shueitou Pier, and are open only to [Republic of China (ROC)] nationals,” Hsieh told the Taipei Times during a telephone interview. “We plan to install the system at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport next month — but only for [ROC] nationals as well.”

The administration of this blog encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to learn more.

Clearly, the conditions of international travel are likely to change in the future as technological improvements continue to present themselves. However the idea of passing through a robotic immigration and/or customs checkpoint still seems somewhat alien, at least to this blogger. One wonders if such technological innovation will soon change the face of ports of entry to the United States or if robots of the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) will one day usher in American Citizens upon their return to the United States of America. Such developments remain to be seen as of the time of this writing.

For related information please see: Legal.

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12th April 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that a 9th circuit decision in the United States Federal Court System regarding issues associated with the 4th Amendment as well as issues which could impact American agencies such as the United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (USICE, but sometimes referred to simply as ICE) has been handed down.  To quote directly from a recent article posted on Yahoo News at Yahoo.com:

If you can’t let a day go by without accessing your personal data and files, you’d better think twice about crossing the border back into the U.S. with your computer.  That’s because digital devices such as a laptop computer can be seized at the border without a warrant and sent to a secondary site for forensic inspection.

That ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last week is the second in less than a year that allows the U.S. government to conduct offsite searches of digital devices seized at the border without a warrant, Network World reported.

This could have big implications for business travelers, in particular, who are increasingly mobile and frequently carry laptops and other digital devices containing sensitive personal and company information across our borders. If your data reveals traces of criminality or illegal kinkiness when examined, your troubles will go way beyond temporary data denial.

This blogger has yet to take a great deal of exception with regard to American policy regarding the 4th Amendment at Ports of Entry in the United States of America as most occurrences that this blogger deals with in connection to such matters involve those who are not American Citizens, or for that matter sometimes not even lawful permanent residents or non-immigrants. Therefore, due to the wide latitude granted to Congress under their plenary authority regarding matters touching upon non-US Citizens and immigration policy it is difficult for this blogger to make cogent hypothetical arguments for people who have few, if any, rights under the American legal system. That said, when it comes to the search and seizure of American Citizens it is clear that Constitutional protections of Americans’ liberties must be taken into zealous consideration. The aforementioned article continued on Yahoo.com:

Writing for the majority, Judge Richard Tallman said, “The border search doctrine is not so rigid as to require the United States to equip every entry point — no matter how desolate or infrequently traveled — with inspectors and sophisticated forensics equipment.”

The administration of this blog highly encourages all readers to click upon the above cited hyperlinks to read more from this thought provoking story.

This blogger does not particularly take exception with the notion of the so-called “border search doctrine” per se, but this blogger has always felt as though little consideration has been accorded to the notion of the rights, privileges, and immunities of both United States Citizenship as well as underlying State Citizenship (if applicable to the individual being legally analyzed as some individuals come by their United States Citizenship either through operation of law or naturalization).

With all due respect to this Court as their decision had to be made pursuant to the unique set of law and facts available under the circumstances, this blogger’s “hackles get raised” anytime the issues associated with the fundamental rights, privileges, and immunities of United States Citizenship are at issue. Therefore, in order to shed more light upon this subject to the readership of this blog this blogger felt it might be enlightening to note some language from the introduction of the dissent in this case as quoted directly from Judge Betty B. Flecther:

I respectfully dissent. The “sticking point” of this case is not whether the Government’s authority “to subject incoming travelers to inspection for entry also permits the Government to transport property not yet cleared for entry away from the border to complete its search.” Maj. Op. at 4219-20. The real issue, as this case is framed by the government and the majority, is whether the Government has authority to seize an individual’s property in order to conduct an exhaustive search that takes days, weeks, or even months, with no reason to suspect that the property contains contraband.[1] In other words, the problem with this case is not that the Government searched Cotterman’s computer in Tucson as opposed to Lukeville. The problem is that the Government seized Cotterman’s laptop so it could conduct a computer forensic search, a time consuming and tremendously invasive process, without any particularized suspicion whatsoever. [emphasis added]

Those reading this blog are highly encouraged to click upon the links above to read the entire opinion as posted on Google Scholar.

Clearly, the ruling in this case could have a dramatic impact upon those individuals traveling in or through the United States of America. That said, it remains to be seen whether or not this case sees appeal to the United States Supreme Court and should such an appeal be heard: the opinion thereof.

For related information please see: Arrest Warrant.

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25th March 2011

Those following this blog or the many other sources of information available on the World Wide Web may have, no doubt, noticed the impact of the recent tragedy in Japan and the unfolding events springing therefrom. The tragic plight of the Japanese people was further highlighted recently by what appears to be a trend among many nations in their refusal to allow imports of foodstuffs from Japan. To quote directly from the website NAMnewsnetwork.org:

TOKYO, March 24 (NNN-BSS) — Australia, Canada and Singapore joined a list of countries shunning Japanese food imports Thursday as radioactive steam wafted anew from a disaster-struck nuclear plant, straining nerves in Tokyo.

The grim toll of dead and missing from Japan’s monster quake and tsunami on March 11 topped 25,000, as hundreds of thousands remained huddled in evacuation shelters and fears grew in the megacity of Tokyo over water safety.

The damage to the Fukushima nuclear plant from the tectonic calamity and a series of explosions has stoked global anxiety. The United States and Hong Kong have already restricted Japanese food, and France wants the EU to do the same.

The administration of this blog highly encourage readers to click on the above hyperlinks to read further about the situation in Japan. As the situation becomes more dire in Japan it would appear that even Japan’s key allies are unable to allow importation of possibly dangerous food products. The authorities in the Kingdom of Thailand appear to be taking preventative measures regarding importation of possibly tainted food as well. To quote directly from Bloomberg.com:

Thailand will check all fruit and vegetable imports from Japan’s main island, Honshu, before allowing their sale and will randomly screen other products such as fish, Pipat Yingseri, secretary-general of the Thai Food and Drug Administration, told a media conference today. The country hadn’t found any abnormal contamination since checks started in mid-March, he said.

As Thai, Hong Kong, Chinese, American, Australian, Canadian, and Singaporean authorities place restrictions on food imports, speculation abounds as to the response from other countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well as member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In discussions regarding the ramifications of the Japanese Crisis it may be best to remember the human elements which are constantly present in all of these regulatory and policy calculations.

As the situation in Japan continues to have global implications it remains to be seen how the various governments and international organizations around the world will react both politically and economically. One thing is clear, the crisis in Japan has the potential to completely reshape the geopolitical situation in Asia from both an economic as well as political perspective. How this change will impact both Thailand and the ASEAN community will be of increasing interest to the administration of this web log.

For related information please see: Legal.

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17th March 2011

In recent months the likelihood of a government shutdown seems to be increasing as the politicians in the United States capital seem to be more polarized than ever. Meanwhile, some are arguing in favor of a shutdown (even going so far as to advocate for an extended period of governmental closure). At the same time, others argue against a shutdown. Regardless of one’s opinion either way, it seems possible that a shutdown may occur, and in the event that a shutdown does come to pass, those processing an immigration matter may be prudent to research the impact that a shutdown might have upon the immigration process.

The following was quoted directly from a recent posting on the website CaldwellTeaParty.org:

The next month will be marked by intense negotiations on the debt ceiling, and the GOP will then have to decide on a shutdown or a bipartisan budget deal with Kent Conrad and his allies.

The above citation most clearly and concisely sums up the current state of affairs regarding the possibility of a government shutdown. The administration encourages readers to click on the above links as this issue is quite complex. Those interested in understanding the ramifications of a government shutdown may be best informed by this administration quoting directly from Wikipedia:

A government shutdown occurs when a government discontinues providing services that are not considered “essential.” Typically, services that continue in spite of a shutdown include police, fire fighting, armed forces, utilities, air traffic management and corrections.

A shutdown can occur when a legislative body (including the legislative power of veto by the executive) cannot agree on a budget financing its government programs for a pending fiscal year. In the absence of appropriated funds, the government discontinues providing non-essential services at the beginning of the affected fiscal year. Government employees who provide essential services, often referred to as “essential employees”, are required to continue working.

Although the above citation clears up the issue of what constitutes a government shutdown, the question likely on the mind of those with foreign loved ones processing through the immigration system is: how would a government shutdown impact the processing of my loved one’s visa? The answer: a Federal government shutdown would result in a sort of “freeze” of most of the immigration apparatus as this falls within the bailiwick of the Federal government. Therefore, a Federal shutdown would likely result in little, if any, action being taken with regard to adjudication of visa applications  at each US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. For further insight it may be best to quote directly from a recent posting on the Diplopundit blog:

In 1995, all visa applications are walk-in.  Today, a good number of consular sections have online appointment systems. Which means, visa appointments will have to be canceled and rescheduled if there is a shutdown.  Consular sections may only be open for life and death emergencies. That means lost passport applications, reports of births abroad, adoption cases, notarials, etc. will all have to wait until the Federal government reopens.

The administration of this blog highly encourages readers to click on the above hyperlinks as the quotation above was found in a very interesting and detailed posting dealing with these issues.

Clearly, the ramifications of a government shutdown will be severe for those awaiting processing of a visa application. Meanwhile, it would appear as though USCIS will continue to operate as normal despite a possible shutdown. To quote directly from the website Martindale.com:

USCIS has announced that, because it is funded by filing fees, it should remain open during a government shutdown. The operations of the four Service Centers should remain largely unaffected. Local USCIS District Offices should also remain open.

Again, this blogger highly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above to learn more.

Notice that the above quotation uses the word should. This blogger only points this out as it goes to show how difficult it is to foretell what the impact of a government shutdown would be on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) since that agency has attempted to remain self-funded through application fees. That said, the overall issue of government shutdown has yet to fully manifest itself, but that should not be construed to mean that it will not. In fact, those seeking American visas are likely to see an overall slowdown in the overall processing of cases as a result of a shutdown (should one actually occur, which remains to be seen).

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17th March 2011

สำหรับผู้ที่ไม่ได้ติดตาม หน่วยบริการการป้องกันเขตแดนและศุลกากรสหรัฐอเมริกา (USCBP) มีหน้าที่รับผิดชอบในการตรวจสอบในส่วนของการเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกา อาจจะมีความเป็นไปได้ที่จะได้รับการอนุมัติที่ทำให้การเข้าเมืองเร็วขึ้นในหลายๆส่วนของการเข้าเมืองและทั่วทั้งสหรัฐอเมริกา อ้างโดยตรงจากโฮมเพจของเว็บไซต์ GlobalEntry.gov:

GlobalEntryเป็นโปรแกรมสำหรับป้องกันเขตแดนและศุลกากรสหรัฐอเมริกา (CBP) ซึ่งอนุญาตให้มีการเร่งการตรวจสอบสำหรับก่อนการอนุมัติ นักเดินทางที่มีความเสี่ยงน้อยที่จะมาถึงสหรัฐอเมริกา แม้ว่าตั้งใจเพื่อจะเดินทางเป็นนักเดินทางต่างชาติอยู่บ่อยๆ แต่คุณสมบัติของการเข้าโปรแกรมนั้นไม่มีตัวเลขขั้นต่ำของความจำเป็นที่จะเดินทาง ผู้เข้าร่วมอาจจะเข้าในสหรัฐอเมริกาโดยการใช้บริการอัตโนมัติที่ติดตั้งอยู่ในสนามบิน

ตามที่อ้างไว้แล้ว อาจจะมีความเป็นไปได้ที่ผู้ที่อยู่ในโปรแกรมเข้าไปในสหรัฐอเมริกาโดยใช้ระบบอัตโนมัติมากกว่าที่จะใช้ระบบมาตรฐานของการเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกาโดยวิธีการเข้าเมืองแบบดั้งเดิม เพื่อความเข้าใจยิ่งขึ้นขออ้างโดยตรงจาก หน้า “เกี่ยวกับ” ในเว็บไซต์ GlobalEntry.gov:

ในสนามบิน โปรแกรมที่ผู้เข้าร่วมทำการผ่านระบบ Global Entry นำเสนอเครื่องที่สามารถอ่านพาสปอร์ตสหรัฐอเมริกา หรือบัตรถิ่นที่อยู่ถาวร โดยการสแกนลายนิ้วมือเพื่อที่จะพิสูจน์ลายนิ้วมือ และประกาศพิธีการทางศุลกากร แผงอัตโนมัตินี้ออกใบเสร็จรับเงินการเดินทางและนำผู้เดินทางไปสู่การนำส่งสัมภาระและทางออก

ผู้เดินทางต้องได้รับการอนุมัติก่อนสำหรับโปรแกรมการเดินทางเข้าทั่วโลก ผู้สมัครทั้งหมดอยู่ภายใต้กฎระเบียบที่เคร่งครัดและการสัมภาษณ์ก่อนการลงทะเบียน

ในขณะที่จุดประสงค์ของการเดินทางเข้าทั่วโลกนั้นช่วยเร่งให้ผู้เดินทางในระหว่างกระบวนการ สมาชิกอาจจะได้รับการเลือกที่จะตรวจสอบเพิ่มเมื่อมีการเดินทางเข้าสหรัฐอเมริกา การละเมิดข้อตกลงและเงื่อนไขของโปรแกรมจะส่งผลที่เหมาะสม และการยกเลิกสิทธิประโยชน์การเป็นสมาชิกของผู้เดินทาง

บริการความมั่นคงชายแดนและศุลกากรมีคำสั่งที่คอยตรวจสอบการเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกาเช่นเดียวกับการบังคับใช้กฎหมายศุลกากร ในขณะเดียวกัน USCBP ได้มีการจัดตั้งคณะกรรมการย่อยขององค์การความร่วมมือทางเศรษฐกิจเอเชียแปซิฟิกซึ่งมีความร่วมมือทางเศรษฐกิจกับประเทศในกลุ่มเอเชียแปซิฟิกที่หลากหลาย ในปัจจุบันนี้ตำแหน่งของเอเปคของสหรัฐอเมริกาเนื่องจากมีการเปลี่ยนจากญี่ปุ่นเป็นสหรัฐอเมริกาในเดือนพฤศจิกายน 2010

บทความนี้คงไม่เป็นที่สับสนในโปรแกรมการเข้าเมืองทั่วโลก ไม่ว่าจะเป็นระบบอิเล็กทรอนิกส์สำหรับอำนาจในการเดินทาง (ESTA) หรือ การขอยกเว้นสิทธิวีซ่า (VWP, ซึ่งโดยตัวเองอาจจะสับสนกับการขอยกเว้นสิทธิ I-601 หรือ I-212) ด้วยความแตกต่างนี้และอาจจะไม่เกี่ยวข้องกัน สำหรับการหาข้อมูลเพิ่มเติมเกี่ยวกับ ESTAและVWP

To view this posting in the English language please see: United States Customs and Border Protection Service

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