We have been round and round the explanation merry-go-round with Congressman Xavier Becerra’s office in Los Angeles. Our friends from Oaxaca, for whom we provided letters of support and guaranteed their return back to Mexico were denied visas to come to the U.S. to visit their family and attend a brother’s wedding in Santa Ana. We had contacted Congressman Becerra’s office asking for help for the family by sending a packet of support with a message asking the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City to take a special look at their visa application. It did no good. Our friends — husband, wife and two children ages eight and twelve — who traveled overnight from Oaxaca on the bus and paid $129 USD each for the visa applications were pained at the decision. We are ashamed of the treatment. According to them, the consular officer did not open the file to look at any of the letters, asked a few questions, immediately said NO, got up and walked away. We asked the Congressman’s aide, with whom we had talked with directly, to follow-up to find out why the visas were denied and if the Embassy would reconsider. This is the answer we received.
Our consular records indicate that their applications for a non-immigrant visa were denied under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This section of law requires U.S. visa applicants for most temporary travel to demonstrate that they have ties outside of the United States that would compel their departure from the U.S. at the end of their stay. In other words, by law, consular officers must assume that a non-immigrant visa applicant is an intending immigrant unless and until the applicant demonstrates he or she is not. In order to do so an applicant may provide evidence that they have strong social, economic, and familial ties outside of the United States and that their intended activities in the United States would be consistent with the visa status. At the time of their interview, they were unable to overcome the presumption that they were intending immigrants. The decision was reviewed by a supervisory consular officer who concurred with the outcome.
Below is a link to a Web site that has more information about visa refusals and 214(b):
My assessment of all this is that prospective visitors from Mexico must PROVE their intentions to return. It is as if they are assumed guilty of becoming undocumented immigrants who will evaporate into the Latino underworld of our biggest cities never to return to Mexico again. This is a discriminatory and bigoted public policy by our government. It separates Mexican families — the border is like the Berlin Wall. It promulgates Latino disdain for White America. Perhaps in twenty years, a Latino Congressman will have more voice in helping a family who resides on one side of the border visit their brother and parents who live on this side of the border. Meanwhile, this visa disapproval policy is painful and inequitable — totally based on the judgment of one individual sitting at a desk in Mexico City wielding disproportionate power over people’s lives.
A friend, whose husband is originally from Veracruz, says: “I think the consul people don’t need any reason whatsoever. I’ve heard they allow 300 a day, nationwide(?) and don’t need criteria. Obviously not if they didn’t even open the envelope. There are just too many stories like this. “