By: Attys. Robert L. Reeves and Nathan Graham
Shortly Reeves & Associates will be filing a civil lawsuit against the Department of State for its improper denials of immigrant visas based on past use or experimentation with marijuana or other illegal drugs. All immigrants should be aware of the danger that experimentation in their youth with marijuana, narcotics, and other illegal drugs poses to their petitions for immigration benefits. The U.S. Consulate in Manila is denying applications for immigrant visas and attempting to permanently bar aliens from coming to the U.S. on the basis of admissions of past drug use. These admissions, usually solicited from the intending immigrant by the physician during the medical examination, are being used as the sole basis for denying the visa, and no arrest or criminal charge of the immigrant need ever have occurred.
The law requires that immigrants obtain a medical examination by a civil surgeon approved by the CIS. During the course of this examination, physicians question aliens regarding any drug use, past or present, and record the immigrant’s responses. Many aliens admit to past drug use, such as experimentation in their twenties with marijuana, understandably believing that there should be no immigration problem because they may have never been arrested, charged, or convicted of any crime, or because they do not use drugs any longer. Intending immigrants should be aware that the examining physician is not an ordinary doctor, and the normal expectations of privacy and confidentiality in the doctor/patient relationship do not exist. The physician is in reality a government agent, and is actively seeking to garner admissions that can be used to bar the alien from immigrating. We have it on good authority that the examining physician may even misrepresent the severity of the consequences of such admissions by saying that they will not affect the outcome of the case.
We believe that the use of these admissions to permanently bar aliens from the U.S. is improper and unjust. This is especially so in light of the reality that, should this same standard be applied to Americans, a high percentage of the population would be inadmissible, including the two most recent Presidents of the U.S. If you are preparing for an upcoming visa interview, please be aware of the consequences of any admissions of past illegal drug use. If you or a family member have been denied a visa on these grounds, we urge you to contact our offices to discuss your case with one of our attorneys. Please visit our website for further information.