Integrity Legal

Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

12th January 2012

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand made no comment regarding the possibility of a Cabinet reshuffle although she did note that attendance at upcoming children’s day festivities is apparently encouraged by the Thai government. To quote directly from the official website of the Thai-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) News Network at Tannetwork.tv:

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra avoided answering questions about a possible Cabinet reshuffle today and only smiled at reporters...The PM added that she would like to invite children to attend the Children’s Day celebration on Saturday at Government House as she has prepared some surprises for the kids…”

Concurrently it also came to this blogger’s attention that the government of Canada seems to have made some comments regarding same sex marriages performed in that nation. To quote directly from the website Advocate.com:

“Thousands of non-resident same-sex couples married in Canada may not be legally wed if the marriage is not recognized in their home country or state, according to the Canadian government…”

The issues surrounding the status of same sex couples has been an issue of debate in the United States of America especially as the Presidential elections continue to draw closer. However, politics does not appear to be the core concern of those who are the most effected by these issues. For example, those families wishing to maintain a same sex bi-national relationship with a non-American in the United States could be deeply impacted by both American and Canadian policy regarding same sex marriage. This issue could further be hypothetically defined where the same sex marriage (or civil union depending upon the jurisdiction) takes place outside of the United States as such a fact pattern could place the merits of the marriage under the purview of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). How this issue will ultimately be resolved in North America remains to be seen, there is one thing that seems to be a certainty: this issue is not one that will simply disappear since there are many in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Community who wish to see full equality in matters reflecting their marital status. American Courts have dealt with this issue in recent months although a definitive decision does not seem to have been reached hopefully this issue will be resolved in short order.

For related information please see: Full Faith and Credit Clause.

For general legal information pertaining to South East Asia please: Legal.

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31st January 2011

The issue of Federal recognition of same sex marriage is one which remains stuck in this bloggers mind like a splinter. The issue is vexing because the United States Federal government has clearly usurped sovereign State prerogatives on the issue while simultaneously trampling upon individual civil rights to equal protection under the laws of the United States as well as the fundamental Constitutional right to freely and peaceably associate with whomever one wishes to associate with. That said, the issue is, in this blogger’s opinion, best analyzed pursuant to the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution of the USA.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) currently prohibits the United States Federal government from recognizing a marriage or civil union between two individuals of the same sex. Most legal scholars approach the issue of same sex marriage and the preclusion of Federal recognition from a civil rights perspective. Although this blogger wholeheartedly agrees that LGBT rights issues do generally fall under the umbrella of civil liberties, the ramifications of DOMA upon the sovereign American States is the most unfortunate aspect of the current state of affairs.

To quote directly from Wikipedia.com:

In Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington, D.C., marriages for same-sex couples are legal and currently performed.

This is important to note as there are American States which explicitly prohibit the recognition of marriages between two people of the the same sex. Conversely, as noted above, there are currently five (5) states which allow same sex marriage. This has lead to a situation in which there is little interstate uniformity regarding this issue. As their site puts things so succinctly it may be best to quote Wikipedia.com’s entry on this issue further:

There has been much speculation on the clause’s possible application to same-sex marriage, civil union, and domestic partnership laws and cases, as well as the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. Between 1996 and 2004, 39 states passed their own laws and constitutional amendments, sometimes called “mini DOMAs,” which define marriage as consisting solely of opposite-sex couples. Most of these “mini DOMAs” explicitly prohibit the state from honoring same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries. Conversely, several states have legalized same-sex marriage, either legislatively or by state supreme court judgment.

The United States Supreme Court has not ruled on how (if at all) these laws are affected by the Full Faith and Credit Clause. However, in August 2007, a federal appeals court held that the clause did require Oklahoma to recognize adoptions by same-sex couples which were finalized in other states.[18]

If the Full Faith and Credit clause is given its traditional interpretation, it has no application to same-sex marriage, and the DOMA legislation is superfluous and even dangerous, as it may lead to a misconstruction of the Full Faith and Credit clause. If a state is required to recognize a same sex marriage, it will be pursuant to the Equal Protection Clause, as was the case with respect to interracial marriages.

The final paragraph of this citation is most notable to this blogger as it is the section in which he is in disagreement. To understand the reasoning behind this blogger’s disbelief in the assertions stated in this Wikipedia.com posting one must first read the actual text of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the US Constitution:

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

It is virtually self-evident, in this author’s opinion, that the plain language of the Full Faith and Credit Clause will compel broad recognition of same sex marriage in the USA. Rather than looking at the issue from a civil rights perspective (which requires lengthy analysis into what are, in this author’s opinion, superfluous issues such as personal or religious feeling regarding same sex marriage which have no place in a reasoned legal analysis of the issue) simply examine the plain language of the Clause itself. The clause explicitly states that Full Faith and Credit SHALL be given to the public RECORDS of every other State.

What does this mean from a practical perspective? To use a hypothetical: two people of the same sex go to the State of Iowa (a jurisdiction which, according to a citation above, both recognizes and solemnizes same sex marriage) and get married. To quote the official Iowa County, Iowa website:

Iowa Vital Records are official registrations of births, deaths and marriages. Certified copies of Vital Records can be obtained from a County Recorder’s office or the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Once an official record is made of a registered same sex marriage does not the Full Faith and Credit Clause operate to compel interstate recognition of such a record? One would think, but there are exceptions to this kind of broad application of the Full Faith and Credit Clause as States which have clear public policies in conflict with foreign State Judgments, Acts, or Records may be permitted to ignore such Judgments, Acts, or Records (foreign judgments always seem to be accorded more preference from an interstate enforcement standpoint).

InterState recognition of same sex marriage, or as this blogger prefers to refer to it: Horizontal Full Faith and Credit of same sex marriage; is not really the main thrust of this post as the more pressing concern for the purposes of this article is Federal recognition of same sex marriage notwithstanding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The interstate implications of some states fully recognizing same sex marriage while other states fail to recognize such unions are interesting topics, but the main issue of this posting is what this blogger refers to as Vertical Full Faith and Credit. Namely, Federal recognition of same sex marriage lawfully solemnized in a sovereign State. Since when was the United States Federal government able to pick and choose which State laws it was willing to recognize? To quote directly from USLegal.com:

The full faith and credit doctrine as applicable to the federal courts in recognizing the records and judicial proceedings of state courts is contained in 28 U.S.C. § 1738.  The full faith and credit rule pertains to recognition by state courts of the records and judicial proceedings of courts of sister States; this includes every court within the United States.  This provision also includes recognition of the records and proceedings of the courts of any territory or any country subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.  By this provision, the federal courts are also bound to give to the judgments of the state courts the same faith and credit that the courts of one State are bound to give to the judgments of the courts of their sister States…

Pursuant to a plain language analysis of the Constitution it is this author’s opinion that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional as it requires the Federal government to disregard the Acts, Records, and Judgments creating same sex marital relationships within the jurisdiction of Sovereign States in direct violation of the plain language of the Full Faith and Credit Clause itself. Although there is a Civil Rights perspective to this issue, the major point that should not be overlooked is that fact that the US Congress is attempting, through enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act, to dictate to the States what shall constitute a valid marriage. In the past, legalization and solemnization of marriage was within the exclusive bailiwick of the State especially as such matters tend to pertain to public health and safety issues.

This has very large practical implications especially for same sex bi-national couples as the Federal government, pursuant to DOMA, cannot grant American family visa benefits to the same sex partner of a US Citizen (notwithstanding the fact that the couple may have solemnized a legally binding marriage within one of the sovereign American States that allows same sex marriages). Hopefully this injustice will be dealt with soon as it is unfortunate that the rights of the States and the people are being disregarded as a result of DOMA’s continued enforcement.

In recent months, efforts have been made to pass legislation such as the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). Bills such as this would mitigate some of the discrimination which is routinely deployed against same sex bi-national families as the language of the proposed bill (and that of those similar to it) would allow for the “permanent partners” of American Citizens and lawful permanent residents to apply for US visa benefits in much the same manner as foreign fiancees and spouses of US Citizens and lawful permanent residents. This legislation, and that like it, is a good step in the right direction, but it does not address the myriad legal rights and privileges routinely deprived to same sex couples under the current Federal regime.

For related information please see: Same Sex Partner Visa.

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16th August 2010

The J1 visa can be an effective travel document for those seeking admission to the United States for cultural and educational exchange. It was recently announced that certain changes will be implemented which may have a significant impact upon J1 visa applicants. The American State Department has made rule changes which may effect J1 visa processing, to quote a recent press release distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):

On June 19, 2007, the Department published an interim final rule amending its regulations regarding Trainees and Interns to, among other things, eliminate the distinction between “non-specialty occupations” and “specialty occupations,” establish a new internship program, and modify the selection criteria for participation in a training program.

This document confirms the Interim Final Rule as final and amends the requirements to permit the use of telephone interviews to screen potential participants for eligibility, to remove the requirement that sponsors secure a Dun & Bradstreet report profiling companies with whom a participant will be placed and also amends this provision to provide clarification regarding the verification of Worker’s Compensation coverage for participants and use of an Employer Identification Number to ascertain that a third-party host organization providing training is a viable entity, and to clarify that trainees and interns may repeat training and internship programs under certain conditions.

It would appear that the US State Department is making these changes in order to better enjoy the benefits of technological advances. The use of telephone interviews for eligibility screening purposes will likely decrease overall processing time. Furthermore, repealing the Dun & Bradstreet report requirement will likely save individuals as well as companies time and resources when they opt to file for J-1 visa benefits on behalf of a foreign national.

The J-1 visa is often utilized by those who travel to the USA as exchange visitors. Often, those applying for such a travel documents do so at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. As the J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, the Consular Officer adjudicating the application must ascertain whether the applicant should be granted the visa notwithstanding the provisions of section 214b of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act which requires that those seeking a non-immigrant visa show “strong ties” to their home country and “weak ties” to the United States. Some are under the mistaken impression that a J-1 visa is a “dual intent” travel document akin to the L1 visa. Due to the provisions of section 214b of the INA, the applicant for a J1 visa should not maintain an intention to remain in the USA indefinitely.

For related information please see: US Tourist Visa.

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8th May 2010

For those who do not know who the “Rebel Dog” is, then this story on Yahoo.com should be enlightening. The following is a direct quote from the aforementioned story:

Amid the turmoil of the Greece financial crisis, photos and videos of street protests have turned up a kind of canine “Where’s Waldo” figure: a mutt that may have some German shepherd genes, and clearly has a strong interest in civic disorder.

While one can’t be certain that it’s the same pooch at every protest — Athens is something of a magnet for street-savvy stray dogs — this mutt does sport a distinctive blue collar, which may indicate that, while he’s a stray, he’s also current on his shots.

By some accounts, the dog has been on the Athens protest scene ever since 2008 (though some say the 2008 pooch is a similar-looking dog named Kanellos who established himself as a fixture at demonstrations and died that year).

For those who have stayed in Bangkok, Thailand the site of Bangkok’s Soi Dogs is a common occurrence as the city boasts a large number of calm yet unowned Soi (or “Street” in English) Dogs. As Thai people have a primarily Buddhist mindset, their attitude towards these animals is, essentially: Live and Let Live. This attitude should not be mistaken for neglect or indifference as the Thai Humane Society and various other charitable organizations see to it that many of these animals are spade and/or neutered in an effort to keep the population of such animals low. Furthermore, the anecdotal evidence of instances of hostile Soi Dogs would seem to suggest that hostility on the part of the Soi Dogs is uncommon.

These animals are mostly fed by local street vendors or those living in neighborhoods that are chosen territory of the dogs. For the most part, Thai Soi Dogs are not considered a threat and some have even gone so far as to note the seeming indifference of the Bangkok Soi Dogs. In most cases, such dogs barely notice their human counterparts going about their business.

Since the beginning of the political protests in Thailand, this author has wondered if there would be any Soi Dog displacement as protesters take up positions in the streets formerly held by Soi Dogs. As of yet, there have been no dog’s with rebellious characteristics such as the one noted in Athens. This lack of canine rebellion may stem from the fact that Bangkok’s Soi Dos are less rebellious when compared to their Athenian counterparts.

For those interested in learning more information about Soi Dogs in Bangkok please see: Soi Dogs.


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24th March 2010

The issue of extradition is becoming more important as the world becomes increasingly “small” thanks in part to technology and the movement towards globalization. In a global environment, legal issues are becoming increasingly international as people are leaving their home countries and taking up residence in countries abroad. In order to understand extradition we need to understand how the international legal system operates when it comes to the issue of dealing with individuals who have warrants or arrests in multiple jurisdictions.  First we need to define what “extradition” means as it can have a significant impact upon individuals throughout the world.

The online informational resource wikipedia.com defines Extradition as follows:

“Extradition is the official process whereby one nation or state surrenders a suspected or convicted criminal. Between nation states, extradition is regulated by treaties.”

This leads to the question: If extradition is the process of surrendering foreign criminals to another nation, then how do countries determine when it is appropriate to extradite individuals? This can be incredibly important as activities which are considered criminal in one jurisdiction may be considered legal in another. To further quote wikipedia:

“The consensus in international law is that a state does not have any obligation to surrender an alleged criminal to a foreign state as one principle of sovereignty is that every state has legal authority over the people within its borders. Such absence of international obligation and the desire of the right to demand such criminals of other countries have caused a web of extradition treaties or agreements to evolve; most countries in the world have signed bilateral extradition treaties with most other countries. No country in the world has an extradition treaty with all other countries…”

Extradition Treaties represent the agreement between two countries regarding the procedure for dealing with those individuals who have a criminal warrant or conviction in one of the nations that is a party to the Treaty. The Kingdom of Thailand and the United States of America have an Extradition Treaty. To quote the American State Department’s website:

“There is a bilateral treaty on Extradition in force between the United States and Thailand, 11 Bevans 1008, 43 Stat. 1749 (1924) and Treaty relating to extradition signed at Washington December 14, 1983, entered into force May 17, 1991. There is a treaty on transfer of prisoners “Treaty on Cooperation in Execution of Penal Sentences” signed at Bangkok October 29, 1982, entered into force December 7, 1988.”

From a practical standpoint, the existence of an Extradition Treaty does not necessarily mean that those with arrest warrants, convictions, or fugitive warrants in the USA will be automatically picked up, arrested, and extradited by authorities in Thailand. Instead, this is unlikely as the Thai authorities do not have direct access to the databases that contain US criminal warrant information. However, recently the Thai immigration authorities have announced that they are taking measures to streamline their information gathering process when it comes to foreign nationals. Authorities in Thailand hope to be “plugged in” to US law enforcement databases soon.

Another issue with regard to US warrants involves US passports as Consular Officers at the American Citizen Services Section of the US Embassy in Bangkok may confiscate an American’s passport if they have outstanding US warrants. In such a scenario, the American would likely be accorded an opportunity to willingly return to the USA.

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23rd March 2010

This author has been increasingly asked about the impact of recent political demonstrations upon those living in Bangkok. From personal experience, this author must admit that the demonstrations have had little or no impact upon living conditions in Bangkok. That being said, it appears that the recent protests are having an effect upon the Thai tourist industry.

In a recent posting on Thaivisa.com the issue of the protests and the detrimental effect they are having on the Tourism industry was discussed:

“The Thai Hotels Association said Thursday that room cancellations in Bangkok have been made at about 1,000 rooms per day, although the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has assessed Red Shirt demonstration in the capital has not had a great impact on tourism so far. Thai Hotels Association director Sakrin Chorsawai said the demonstration has affected tourism operators, particularly in hotel businesses in Bangkok. A significant drop in the number of foreign tourists was seen and room reservations fell some 10-20 per cent. About 1,000 rooms were canceled daily on average as tourists feared possible violence during the mass demonstrations, in particular from March 12-23, Mr Sakrin said. However, tourism operators in other regions have not been affected, and are enjoying a normal rate of hotel bookings, he said. Local tourists, who are worried about the political situation, do not travel. If the demonstration is prolonged, its negative effects on tourism will be clearly seen, said Mr Sakrin. Meanwhile, TAT director Surapol Svetasreni said the tourism in January and February had recovered but since the Red Shirt protest began in Bangkok last week, the national agency is vigilant on the current situation to alleviate and to minimise possible effects on tourism. TAT’s promotional campaign this year still focuses on overseas roadshows and targets the number of foreign tourists at 15 million people in 2010.”

Although room cancellations may be attributable to the protests, this author believes that other factors may explain the recent downturn in Thai tourism overall. In a previous post, it was noted that the free Thai tourist visa scheme had come to an end. Subsequent to that posting, it was reported that the Thai visa fee waiver would go back into effect for Tourist visas beginning on April 1st of 2010. However, this left a window of about one month in which Thai tourist visas would not be granted free of charge. There is a possibility that some of those planning to tour Thailand are awaiting the re-institution of the free tourist visa scheme. This is mere speculation on the part of this author, but it may be the case.

For more information about Thai Immigration generally please see: Thailand visa.

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3rd March 2010

As readers of this blog may recall from a previous post, the Thai authorities recently announced that the fee waiver for Thai tourist visas was ending in March of this year. However, ThaiVisa.com has recently reported that the tourist visa waiver program is to be re-instituted in April of this year. Apparently, the positive impact upon the tourism sector is one of the underlying reasons for the extension of this program:

“Less than one month after Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed Thaivisa.com that the free tourist visa scheme would end on March 5, 2010, the Thailand Government has announced the tourism stimulus package will continue for another year, including $US10,000 in free riot insurance for tourists. The extension of the tourism industry stimulus package was approved by the cabinet today, March 2, 2010 in response to a request from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. The extension will be effective from April 1, 2010 and go through to March 31, 2011 and appears to leave a three and a half week window in which tourist visas for Thailand will be charged for.”

As some may recall from another previous post on this blog, many Royal Thai Embassies, Consulates, and  Honorary Consuls around the world were unhappy with the no-cost tourist visa scheme as the funds previously accrued from processing tourist visas were no longer being paid. How this recent announcement will impact the Honorary Consulates as well as the Embassies and Consulates-General remains to be seen.

Another interesting aspect of the recent announcement is the fact that foreign nationals are also to be provided with no-cost riot insurance as part of this new program to revitalize the Thai tourist industry. To further quote from ThaiVisa.com:

“The $10,000 free riot insurance coverage was introduced last year and initiated by the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) in response to international insurance firms’ refusal to sell insurance coverage to visitors to Thailand following the 2008 closure of Thailand airports by members of the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD). When the insurance coverage was first introduced last year, Kongkrit Hiranyakit, president of TCT, said the government had set aside Bt190.75 million ($US5.820 million) for the initial six month period covering May to October, 2009, with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports responsible for paying the insurance premium of $1 per visitor. The insurance policy provides for payments of up to $10,000 in the event of death, injury, and/or trip inconvenience, and appears to only cover people in possession of a 60-day tourist visa. Resident expatriates living and working in Thailand on non-immigrant visas do not appear to be covered for death, injury or inconvenience caused by riots.”

It will be interesting to see if the provision of this insurance will cause any stir among foreign residents as all of those who do not have Thai Permanent Residence are technically considered non-immigrants and therefore only “temporarily” staying in the Kingdom. This even applies to those with a Foreign Tabien Baan (also know as a Yellow Tabien Baan) as these registrations are specifically noted as “temporary.” Even though all non-residents are classified as non-immigrants, the category of the visa determines the privileges that will be extended to the visa holder. Therefore, those with a Thai business visa are entitled to file for a Thai work permit while those holding a tourist visa are not accorded that privilege. As a result, the provision of riot insurance could be viewed as as specific privilege that is only accorded to those holding certain types of Thai visas.

For further information about Thai Immigration please see: Thai visa.

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27th February 2010

US Citizenship is an aspiration for many of those individuals who opt to immigrate to the United States of America. Naturalization is the legal process that foreign nationals undertake when they wish to become a US Citizen. For many the process is somewhat confusing. The naturalization process can also seem daunting as a foreign national must spend a significant amount of time any money in order to naturalize. Recently the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) stated that funds will be made available to assist in integrating foreign nationals into the American polity, the following is a press release from USCIS promulgated by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today the availability of two different
grants designed to help prepare lawful permanent residents (LPRs) for citizenship and advance integration in the United States. This year’s program will make nearly $7 million available for citizenship education in communities across the country.”

This 7 million dollar grant shows a marked increase in funding for this initiative as this program was not as heavily funded in the past. It could be inferred that USCIS is resolved to promote Citizenship education for foreign nationals:

“’Each aspiring citizen represents a personal story of sacrifice and triumph,” said USCIS Director
Alejandro Mayorkas. “This funding will increase opportunities for English language instruction, promote the rights and responsibilities that define our nation, and provide much-needed support for individuals on the path to citizenship.’”

The funding provided in these grants will help facilitate multiple goals. All of these goals are within the context of Immigration to the United States and Naturalization to American Citizenship:


The first grant will strengthen locally-based citizenship preparation programs. The second grant will
increase the capacity of members or affiliates of national, regional, or statewide organizations to offer
citizenship services in underserved communities. USCIS expects to announce an estimated 50 award
recipients in September 2010.

When comparing this initiative to its counterpart in 2009, the difference in funding becomes glaringly obvious:

During fiscal year (FY) 2009, USCIS awarded $1.2 million in grants to 13 immigrant-serving organizations across the country. These awards are currently expanding services and outreach on U.S. citizenship, educational opportunities, and available resources to nearly 70,000 LPRs in 11 states.

That being said, USCIS’s efforts to fully integrate foreign nationals into the tapestry of Americana should be applauded as it marks a positive step. There are many who feel that naturalization makes individuals more engaged in the American way of life and provides recent immigrants with an aim and goal to pursue.

For more information about this and other US Immigration issues please see: Fiance Visa Thailand.

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23rd February 2010

As many readers are probably aware, the United States of America and Cuba have had long standing political tensions. Official US policy regarding Cuba has remained largely unchanged over the past 40 years, but recently officials from the American State Department have been conducting meetings with Cuban authorities in order to come to some sort of agreement regarding migration between the two countries. The quotes cited below are from a recently promulgated State Department publication:

“On Friday, February 19, 2010 the United States and Cuba met in Havana to discuss implementation of the U.S.-Cuba Migration Accords. This was the second such meeting since the decision to renew the Talks in 2009. In the course of the meeting, the U.S. team, led by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Craig Kelly, reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to promote safe, orderly, and legal migration.”

Many feel that the current state of the US-Cuban relationship has lead to a situation where the security of the United States and Cuba is affected. Also, US officials are seeking to be given access to information about those who are sent back to Cuba. Therefore, an accord with Cuba seems to increasingly be considered a necessity:

“The agenda for the talks reflected longstanding U.S. priorities on Cuba migration issues, including: ensuring that the U.S. Interests Section in Havana is able to operate fully and effectively; ensuring that the U.S. Interests Section in Havana is able to monitor the welfare of repatriated migrants; and gaining Cuban government acceptance for the repatriation of all Cuban nationals who are excludable on criminal grounds…The United States views these talks as an avenue to achieve practical, positive results that contribute to the full implementation of the Accords and to the safety of citizens of both countries.”

This blog is mostly concerned with American Immigration issues for foreign nationals in Southeast Asia. That being said, we try to provide information about US Immigration generally. Although the above issues do not directly impact US Immigration from Thailand, an accord with Cuba on these Immigration issues would likely mark a watershed moment in Cuban-American relations.

At one time, it was difficult for people from Communist countries to travel to the United States. Since the end of the cold war and the “thawing” of relations between the United States and China, Cuba has remained a country with few official ties to the United States. The above accord, may mark the beginning of friendlier relations between the two countries.

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22nd February 2010

Recently the Royal Thai Immigration Police Department announced a new initiative to sweep up foreign criminals residing in Thailand. This effort is to be made possible through what appears to be the interlinking of various warrant databases. Once Thai Immigration officials link their system to that of countries such as the United States, or international organizations such as the European Union it will be less difficult to track down those in Thailand with a foreign arrest warrant or fugitive warrant.

The Bangkok Post is reporting that the new chief of the Thai Immigration Bureau is taking measures to see that foreign criminals in Thailand are apprehended through an initiative known as the “Three S’s” The Three S’s stand for “Security Standards and Service.”

In the realm of security, new initiatives are to be taken which will provide Royal Thai Immigration Police with access to international criminal warrant databases. These records would provide Thai Immigration officers as well as regular police officers with criminal histories of foreigners present in the Kingdom of Thailand. This information will be used to ascertain the location of such international criminals and facilitate apprehension.

The new campaign will also entail the creation of a new National Criminal Center. This Center seems to be intended as a repository for international criminal records. At the time of this writing, it is the author’s understanding that this Center will coordinate their activities with such foreign agencies as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, as well as other national, state, and local law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and around the world.

Another facet of Thai Immigration’s crackdown is the campaign to apprehend and deal with illegal aliens. Based upon the information contained in the above cited Bangkok Post article the new Royal Thai Immigration Chief seems to have expressed an intention to apprehend those foreign nationals who are present in the country illegally. How this will impact long term western tourists and expatriates remains to be seen as overstaying one’s Thai visa has become increasingly common since it is not longer possible to obtain a 30 day visa exemption stamp at Thai land borders.

In a way, these two initiatives are related as it could be easily inferred that those using Thailand as a place to evade foreign criminal warrants could also be Thailand visa violators.

For more information on this issue please see a previous blog post located here: criminal warrant.

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