Immigration Facilitators for the Oldest Profession

By David North on November 27, 2009

Among the people making money by encouraging migration to the U.S. are overseas facilitators offering advice – of all kinds to all comers – on how to get into the States. See my earlier blog.

In Thailand this includes observations about the alleged lack of vigor shown in America's ban on prostitutes.

I am not talking about whispered advice, maybe in an alley, and presumably in Thai, between two Bangkok ladies of the night. I am sure this happens, too, but today's reading can be seen, in English, on the internet.

The facilitators in this case are the Thailand Law Forum, which describes itself as "Thailand's English Language Law Resource." You can read the following as an essay on how the U.S. immigration law really works, or you could read it as a muted message to prostitutes wanting to come to America – your choice. Here's what it says:

"There is a plethora of information of interest on the internet that focuses on the grounds of US visa denials and the available waivers of inadmissability.... In the Thai context one of the most discussed grounds of denial is based on prostitution...

Continuing in excellent English, probably written by an American, we next read:

" spite of the volume of material published regarding prostitution as a cause of visa denial, in our experience, cases of denial on the grounds of prostitution are quite rare. The number of applicants that are concerned about this issues seems disproportional when compared to the number of actual recorded cases. This observation is supported by the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs statistics: for non-immigrant visas, 27 persons were denied visas as a result of suspected involvement in prostitution and two of those that were denied on this ground subsequently received a waiver. This number drops for immigrant visa applicants; 17 were denied and nine received waivers....:

Over and above the thought that giving advice to prostitutes on how to outwit the U.S. government is hardly a commendable activity, several comments seems to be in order:

1) If "one of the most discussed grounds of denial is based on prostitution" there must be a non-trivial number of visa applicants in this category, at least in Thailand.

2) The numbers, as quoted, are correct, and are for the whole world, not just Thailand. They are taken from the 2008 Annual Report of the Visa Office, Table XX.

3) The statistics, though narrowly accurate, are probably misleading. Suppose you are a very junior U.S. consular official faced with an applicant you think unworthy of a visa because you suspect she is a prostitute. You have decided you will deny the visa, and the question in your mind is what category should be used for the denial?

Do you want to use a bland category like "failure to establish entitlement to a nonimmigrant visa" or "application does not comply with the provisions of the INA"? Either will do the job of denial nicely.

Or do you want to set off an angry scene in the office by using the prostitution clause?

For the record, the table cited above indicates that almost 1,500,000 nonimmigrant applicants were denied under the entitlement clause and close to 600,000 were denied on the failure to comply with the INA clause.

I have no doubt that some-to-many prostitutes secure immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, but the situation is probably not as lax as those lawyers in Thailand describe it.