Pubdate: Sun, 19 Mar 2006
Source: Philippine Star (Philippines)
Copyright: PhilSTAR Daily Inc. 2006
Author: Michael J. Gurfinkel
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Immigration Corner

Many Filipinos consulted with me regarding the same problem: their
visa was denied by the US Embassy because they admitted to the doctors
at St. Luke's that they had, years ago, smoked marijuana or used some
other drug. At their visa interview, they are shocked to find that
their visa is being refused, with the annotation "you have admitted to
committing acts which constitute a controlled substance violation - no

In one case, a 29-year-old nurse had been recruited for a job in a US
hospital. During visa processing, she was asked a very routine
question: "Have you smoked marijuana or taken any controlled
substance?" The nurse said that she had "tasted" marijuana once during
a party when she was 18 years old. It was just a harmless "try", done
out of curiosity. Her visa was denied, and she was banned for life.

Another person was a middle-aged man, said he tried marijuana two or
three times when he was a teenager. His visa application was likewise
denied. This man, who was petitioned by his US citizen parents, had
waited for more than 10 years for his priority date to be current. But
now he was being told he would never go to the US.

None of these people had ever been charged with, or convicted of, any
drug-related crime. They merely admitted that they tried or tasted
marijuana or other drug during their younger days.

Under US immigration laws, a person is inadmissible (not eligible for
a visa) if they have ever been convicted of, or admitted having
violated any law of any country relating to a controlled substance. As
the law states, "[A]ny alien convicted of, or who admits having
committed, or who admits committing acts which constitute the
essential elements of . . . a violation of . . . any law or regulation
of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a
controlled substance . . . is inadmissible." Marijuana is considered a
"controlled substance." Therefore, if you smoked (or "used")
Marijuana, you may have violated a law relating to a controlled substance.

It may seem that US immigration laws were harsh in the case of the
nurse and middle-aged man, who had merely tried marijuana out of
curiosity many years ago. But, the use of Marijuana in the Philippines
is against the law, and admitting marijuana use was enough for the
Embassy to refuse the visas under Section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II). This
was the case even though they never used marijuana again, and blood
tests would never reveal the use of drugs or Marijuana. But they
admitted to having smoked Marijuana, which could be a violation of a
law relating to a controlled substance. And now they had to suffer the
consequences. (The Embassy was only following and enforcing the law,
in refusing the visas.)

Therefore, it is my strong advice to anyone who is under petition that
you do not take any drugs, or you could jeopardize your coming to
America. The US Government is taking a very tough stance against
people who use drugs or violate drug laws. 
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MAP posted-by: Tom