By Attorneys Robert L. Reeves & Anthony J. Favero

Reeves & Associates has successfully secured an immigrant visa for an individual previously found “permanently inadmissible” to the United States by the U.S. Embassy in Manila due to his admission to youthful experimentation with a controlled substance.  The issuance of this visa marks the culmination of approximately nine years of hard work and dedication by our attorneys and staff.  It also marks a very welcome development for Philippine immigrants and their families who have been denied visas due to youthful experimentation with drugs.

The applicant, referred to in this article as Mr. Garcia out of respect for his privacy, was a derivative beneficiary of his wife’s employment-based immigrant visa petition.  In 2003, Mr. Garcia, his wife, and his children all applied for immigrant visas with the U.S. Embassy in Manila.  During the routine medical examination conducted as a part of the visa interview process, Mr. Garcia honestly admitted to experimenting with a controlled substance during his youth.  The examining physician forwarded this information on the Embassy staff.  Consequently, the consular officer deciding Mr. Garcia’s case found him inadmissible to the United States pursuant to section 212(a)(2) of the Immigration & Nationality Act (“INA”) for admitting the essential elements of a controlled substance offense. 

Mr. Garcia’s wife and children were approved for their immigrant visas, but his was denied.  Thus, the family was forced to separate, and Mr. Garcia was left behind in the Philippines.  Desperate to reunite in the United States, the Garcia family made numerous attempts to overcome Mr. Garcia’s inadmissibility and secure his immigrant visa.  However, the Manila Embassy was steadfast in its position.  Mr. Garcia admitting to experimenting with drugs rendered him permanently inadmissible, and he would never be eligible to immigrate to the United States. 

After years of separation from her husband, Mr. Garcia’s wife retained Reeves & Associates in 2010.  After months of research, legal writing, and correspondence with the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Embassy in Manila, R&A was able to overcome Mr. Garcia’s permanent inadmissibility.  The Manila Embassy then agreed to reschedule Mr. Garcia for a new immigrant visa interview.  Our attorneys and staff judiciously prepared Mr. Garcia for his second interview, taking care to consider every facet of the case and anticipate the Embassy’s concerns.  When Mr. Garcia returned to the Embassy, he was well prepared. 

Ultimately, after a new medical examination and a second immigrant visa interview, the Manila Embassy approved Mr. Garcia’s immigrant visa.  He is now preparing to travel to the United States and reunite with his wife and children.  In a message to Reeves & Associates, Mr. Garcia’s wife wrote, “You have our heartfelt thanks.  I thought there was no chance of my husband being approved for his visa because of his inadmissibility status.  Then, the approval came all along sooner than we thought possible.”

Due to the breakthrough seen in Mr. Garcia’s case, potential immigrants who have been deemed “permanently inadmissible” to the United States due to a previous drug admission are being permitted to reapply and present their cases to the Manila Embassy anew.  Reeves & Associates has numerous clients who are being rescheduled for immigrant visa interviews, hoping to follow in Mr. Garcia’s footsteps.  If you or a loved one has been deemed inadmissible to the United States because of an admission to youthful experimentation with drugs, we encourage you to contact an experienced immigration attorney knowledgeable in the area of visa denials based on past drug experimentation.

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