Racial Discrimination by the U.S. Embassy in Manila

Embassy02The American Embassy in the Philippines has a huge problem. It is overwhelmed with applications for tourist and other temporary visas. It is a processing nightmare, something like 1,000 to 1,500 applications a day. This is complicated by the fact that, historically, a large number of Filipinos granted a visa to visit the U.S. have refused to return to the Philippines.

To deal with the problem, the Embassy quickly profiles visa applicants according to certain easily identified characteristics that fit the statistical model of “high flight risk”. For example, if the following characteristics are observed during the personal interview, the interviewer will end the interview and state “you are not qualified” for a visa.

  • Single
  • Female
  • Under the age of 40
  • No college degree

If the applicant asks “why”, she will be given a nebulous answer or unhelpful guidance to apply again. She will NOT be told “because you are single, female, young and not well-educated”.

If she protests, the Embassy will send her the following gibberish:

  • Visa applications are adjudicated based on individual merits, consistent with criteria specified in the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and the Federal regulations issued pursuant to it.  Consular officers are required to deny visas to applicants who cannot qualify under the law and to issue visas to those applicants who do qualify.  

Americans who designed the system are highly skilled at placing the blame on the applicant without explaining why a denial is granted. In response to protests, the Embassy explains:

  • Based on your interview on June 6, 2013, you were found ineligible for a nonimmigrant visa under Section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended.  This law requires consular officers to presume that nonimmigrant visa applicants intend to immigrate unless they can demonstrate that their familial, social, professional, and economic ties to the Philippines are compelling enough for them to return after a temporary stay in the United States.  Unfortunately, you were unable to overcome the presumption of immigrant intent.

So, you see, the starting point is the assumption that every Filipino is guilty of being a flight risk.

“Now prove that you are not.”

“And by the way, if I don’t like the way you look, you are denied.”

HarryThomasJr

I am confident the Embassy staff, even the Ambassador, who is an African American, knows that what it is being done is distasteful. In the United States, it is in many circumstances illegal. The Embassy is undertaking a process much like a job interviewer who dismisses an applicant because his skin is black. And does not even bother to read the resume.

To the job interviewer, “black” is interpreted to mean incompetent.

To the visa interviewer, single, female, young, and not well-educated is interpreted to mean flight risk.

  • But Joe, gender and age are not racial qualities. How can you say that is racism?”

The racism is found in the fact that the Embassy knows profiling people by superficial qualities is frowned upon, or illegal, in the United States, but uses that method in the Philippines. The racism is found in the presumption of guilt, before the trial is held. The racism is found in the notion that Filipinos are not worth the same level of dignity – the same level of individual human rights – as Americans.

It is akin to a view of Filipinos as “natives” that permitted outrageous American racial brutality during the Philippine American war, and underwrote the leveling of Manila in World War II, regardless of the number of Filipinos killed.

The “natives” attitude is that Filipinos do not deserve the same decency as Americans.

That is the racism.

  • “But Joe, Filipinos cause the problem by not respecting their visa. By the fact that so many become illegal immigrants in the United States.”

And U.S. jails are full of black criminals. So? Should we therefore jail the good Ambassador? Each individual is an individual and ought not be disparaged by what others do. An individual Filipino applicant ought not be “painted” as an irresponsible flight risk on superficial qualities just as an individual black person ought not be painted as criminal based on what other blacks do.

This is such a disgusting, demeaning process.  Profiling.

  • “Well, smart guy, so what is the Embassy supposed to do when it has to deal with 1,500 applications a day?”

How about solving the problem?  How about getting REAL information out on the table quickly.

Embassy01

Right now, the Embassy suggests the applicant bring in evidence of ties to the Philippines. Guidelines are vague and open-ended. The Embassy requires various NSO certificates, bank statements, photographs of family and property, and anything else that might show ties to the Philippines.  It ends up being a disorganized pile of paper that may or may not be used. If the applicant is single, female, young and not well-educated, she might as well not bring anything, because the interviewer is likely not to look at it. The Interviewer will ask a handful of questions and then dismiss the applicant as “unqualified”.

  • The Embassy COULD require a one-page cover SALN that shows country in which assets are held, and another one-page profile in check-list form showing education, employment, family and activities in the Philippines.
  • The interviewer COULD become skilled at scanning this information to determine if ties to the Philippines are strong or weak.
  • Indeed, specific standards COULD be set (approval requires assets in the Philippines worth P1 million held for three years or more, or substantial owned properties, or employment at the current material job for least three years).
  • The interviewer COULD quickly probe specifics to verify data (“please show me a copy of the title to your home”).

The Embassy COULD do an honest and honorable judgment based on means and ties to the Philippines. NOT profiling.

  • If Filipinos KNOW the requirements they will self-select who ought to apply and who ought not.
  • And they would KNOW how to EARN a right to visit America.

Who knows, maybe the Embassy workload would DECLINE and staff would be able to give each applicant a RESPECTABLE, respectful interview. Not the current rush job, frequent application denials, and multiple re-applications.

Yes, yes. Sometimes the assessment will prove wrong. But they are often wrong now, and in such as way as to grossly cheat and offend decent, deserving Filipinos.

The use of superficial profiling to judge applicants is abhorrent.

It is better to accept a million illegal Filipino immigrants into America than cast an entire nation as undeserving of fair treatment.

The best word I can use to describe the processes of the American Embassy in Manila?

Shameful.

Comments
73 Responses to “Racial Discrimination by the U.S. Embassy in Manila”
  1. The Mouse says:

    I always thought that qualifications for tourist visas depended on one’s “bank account” and properties…?

    But then, I could be wrong since I never applied for tourist visa anyway.

    I think the problem though is that it is two way. I used to read the FB page of the Manila Embassy and it seems that Filipinos themselves do not get themselves ready and do not do their research. It’s more of like, they hear a “success story”, they think they’re in regardless if they can afford it or now. Ticket to the US alone costs tens of thousands, how much more with lodging and food and others. A decent inn in San Jose area is like $70-$80 a day. Unless they are upper class Filipinos, I can’t see how they can afford it. And from what I have heard, having a relative in the US is a disadvantage when applying for tourist visas.

    And given that the number of illegal Filipinos in the US are at 300,000 (considering that there is no border shared — suggests that most had expired or fake visas), can’t blame the USEM holding Filipinos in general suspicious.

    In addition: I think it highly depends on the interviewer too. Arnel Pineda (that dude that Journey hired as their vocalist) got lucky because the one who interviewed him used to watch him sing in a music bar. Talk about the power of luck.

    • Joe America says:

      The interviewer is all-powerful, and fallible. The point is, he or she is authorized to use “profiling” to make a very quick determination. If that profiling comes into play before the information can be presented, the applicant is excused. There is no appeal process even when gross injustices have been done.

      Many people do re-apply, paying the fee again, traveling again, bearing the burdens again, imposing interview burdens on the Embassy again. Hoping to get a compassionate agent.

      The flaws are gross:

      Profiling
      Presumption of guilt
      Rude behavior by agents
      No tangible guidelines of what represents “ties to the Philippines”
      No explanation of why a denial is done
      No appeal

      • Joe America says:

        I would add that the emotional impact on a deserving person, denied by profiling, is severe.

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          FBI have profilers so is CIA. It is survival instinct. A Zip code which has TFC subscribers likely swarms with Filipinos, therefore, dogs are noisy so are the masters, they cook smelly dried fish, they sing karaoke thru the wee hours, if police are called in they do not talk to me, not my kind of neighborhood. I want peace.

          U.S. consular officers do not agree with this, though, “it is better to issue Visa to ten guilty Filipinos than deny one innocent person”.

  2. “It is better to accept a million illegal Filipino immigrants into America than cast an entire nation as undeserving of fair treatment.” Joe, You sounded like a Filipino patriot instead of an American hahaha. And you’re too politically correct to be a politician in America.

    But based on new stories I’ve read, most Democrat American citizens are supportive of less stringent immigration policies. It’s the Republicans who seem very wary of immigrants. OR, the White House, regardless of political ideology, curbs immigration because of economic reasons; I read some Indian IT pros allegedly “steal” jobs from American IT pros.

    Anyway based on the stories I heard since I haven’t tried to apply for a tourist visa, a credit card is necessary for the approval of a Filipino applicant. And if one can’t speak good English, one should expect his application to be rejected. It’s like speaking good English is the indicator of a Filipino’s intellect, upbringing and economic ties to the country.

    But I can’t completely blame the US for crossing the line in immigration policy. Some Filipinos are willing to go undocumented because of the plight in this country. “Kapit sa Patalim” in Tagalog or “Swallowing the Bitter Pill.” But hey, If the US is strict, the Middle East and Italy, that is stereotyped as the gateway of illegal migrants to Europe, are better options hahaha.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, immigration is an area of significant debate. Within the Republican Party, there are two arguments. One is held by the Party itself that says we must show more compassion toward Latinos and other minorities or we will lose next election for the same reasons we lost the last one. The other says we will go conservative and wait until our constituency gets tired of being run by them minorities. The latter is a form of race card, and it is the one in play.

      The credit card can be one element that shows ties to the Philippines, along with a home deed and deposits. But one must make it past the profiling to get it in front of the agent. I had not thought of language as one of the profile keys, but that makes sense. I am aware of one case where “high school education” brought out the blue denial slip.

      I don’t mind the U.S. being strict. I mind them using profiling rather than facts, and weaseling out of providing helpful guidance, rather than going by specific criteria that people understand. Profiling in the U.S. is a very dirty word. Unfair to the notion of respect for individuals of any age, ethnicity, gender, etc. etc.

      It is the primary screening tool used by the Embassy..

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      United States Internal Revenue Service has imbedded profiler software that red flags returns that has a high probbility of cheats. If IRS has it so are U.S. Embassys. Dian Fossey also found out that gorillas knows how to profile. If I do not move, do not look them in the eye, bow my head and kneel I’d be considered harmless. Monkeys in Loburi,Thailand crowd around a white tourist because Monkeys know white tourists are amused feeding them but afraid of me because brown-skin like Thais eat monkeys.

  3. begalon says:

    Damn Joe, it is a good one. I am an American Citizen and I have this stinking feelings when I call the US Embassy. Yeah I feel like I am being discriminated. I feel like I am talking to the wall.

    I recently applied for my Social Security retirement pension at age sixty two. They asked for my passport, my military ID card and birth certificate of which I have already sent. I haveto prove that I am an American, and now they want a copy of my Naturalization Certificate.

    I thought for Christ sake pick that phone and verify it yourself. That is exactly what will SSA will do had I filed it stateside.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, I feel your pain. It took me many months to get my SS authorization for my son here, and they sent field agents (private investigators) out to interview the neighbors and otherwise probe every nuance of my life. I guess there must be a lot of American crooks in the Philippines, as well as Filipino escape artists in the U.S. I recently had to take my son to Manila to renew his passport. I don’t know what they figure I did with him that they have to see I still have him. The new digs are nice, though. Lots of chairs and cool number-calling system.

      • The Mouse says:

        Which reminds me…

        when I was still in the Philippines, my mom tried to get me a SS for tax purposes…the guy she talked to that it’s not possible (but then again, lots of Hispanic seem to qualify)…what she did is, she didn’t submit the form to that guy, but mailed it instead. Well, it worked.

        I think some people working for the US government are just bunch of asses. Some will favor a certain ethnicity over one (and it is not limited to “White privilege”).

        • Joe America says:

          Yep, the “regal authority” posture is not limited to Philippine agencies. Many government agencies in the U.S. have changed, though, and now live up to their service charter. The Embassy is a very strange place to me. Heavily guarded and wary. Solid as a rock. A place of few smiles. Lots of chairs because of a lot of waiting time. Officious. Certainly not compassionate.

      • begalon says:

        Yeah, that is the word I was looking for. They treat us like an American crooks and this has to stop. Let us get all the American crooks together and convince them to write their congressmen that we are being discriminated here in the Philippines. Can we do that?

        Well, they still send field agents to interview my kids, least that what I was told and wouldnt tell me when. That explains the iterview with my neighbors.

        • Joe America says:

          Yep. I wrote my congressman a few years ago complaining about the Embassy practices (Senator Feinstein in California). She wrote back and said State Department does its own thing and she has no power to change things. The practices remain the same. Thuggish and not honest, actually. Kinda like China, eh?

          • Attila says:

            As an emigrant from a communist country to the USA I have to disagree with you Joe. I had to go through the interviews myself and stay in a refuge camp for 2 yrs going to one interview to the other. Many of the Hungarian were also turned back. However when I was interviewed at other countries consulates (Canada, Australia and New Zealand) I was treated much worst. I had no chance with them. Why exaggerate Joe!

            Many of the Filipinos that are already here are over-stayers. Filipinos are not like Mexican and other Hispanics who speak poor English. Filipinos get better jobs than Hispanics and often better paying jobs than legal residents. Me and my Filipina wife knows many of them we know their jobs and salaries. They are taking jobs away from legal residents and don’t pay taxes. I was not born and raised in the USA but I believe that America is first! If you think Filipinos should have rights to come than give that right to the Indonesians Indians Chinese and Russians as well. My wife keeps telling me again and again that Kanos are nice but really stupid. We sabotage our country!
            If they don’t like the Embassy practices than try other countries. I say good luck to them and stop the USA bashing. Maybe they should have not turned down the US to become a commonwealth of the USA and should have not kicked out the US navy. “Undeserving”? Americans deserve better!

          • Joe America says:

            @Attila, disagreement is most welcome. Hones the senses.

            Your circumstance was very different, and I have no doubt that American immigration officials were doing good work. And also I agree that it is the Filipino penchant for fleeing the visa that is the underlying root cause of the problem. That plus a very high demand to go to the U.S., reflecting the Philippines holding the U.S. in higher regard than any other nation.

            But I don’t think the problem ought to be fixed by discrimination based on superficial criteria, evasion, and thuggish legalisms. The principles that America are built on are the ones that welcomed you. The U.S. did not discriminate because of ethnicity or other irrelevant factors. The Manila Embassy does.

            I have no problem if the Embassy says, “sorry, no more tourist visas to ANYONE from the Philippines because the flight risk is simply too high”. That is impeccably fair and straightforward. But to look at a deserving individual and have an immigration officer say (to himself, not the applicant), “hmmm, you are young and you only have a high school education, you are denied” without looking at any other considerations is flat out wrong. Un-American, if you will. Then to paper it over with diversions like “you didn’t fulfill the requirements”, whatever the hell they are, and provide a bunch of legalistic mishmash rather than an answer BECAUSE THE REAL ANSWER IS TOO EMBARRASSING TO PROVIDE is simply not the way I’d like to see my homeland’s government treat people.

            It hurts too many people needlessly. It cheats too many people needlessly.

            And what’s with the “no appeal” rule? The Embassy will put forth no effort on conflicts, but instead requires the applicant to apply anew, pay up a second time, travel a second time, face humiliation a second time by wading again into the unknown pit of bias and ill treatment. In other words, the Embassy dumps on people and eases off in some kind of Imperial land of not caring a whit. And honorable applicants are left crying in that new pavilion they built. Denied for reasons that have no bearing on who they are.

            • H Meyer says:

              first, the Immigration and Nationality Act under section 214b is where the presumption of immigrant is listed as the status quo…it is not specific to Manila…second, lots and lots of Filipinos ‘forget’ to return as promised..third, any document can produced 50 yards around the corner from our embassy in Manila, so papers mean nothing..papers cannot and do not prove ‘intent’ of an applicant…COs are trained to make those determinations, and not you. Tell the Filipinos who violated the privilege (not a right) they were given and thumbed their noses at our laws that they are the ones causing their countrymen problems obtaining tourist visas…of course, Congress has no meaningful provisions for removing people who over stay, so the COs are the first line of defense against illegal immigration and/or people jumping the queue to get an advantage over future law breakers…if you are so unhappy about the current state of affairs, why not take a couple of dozen illegals into YOUR home, feed and clothe them, and take care of them….what, you say? You lack the courage to do so? Then you are just a hypocritical dufus, who knows nothing about the visa process nor anything about our current laws…which are designed to protect even people like you who have a double digit IQ.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Was it REAL American? Or Fake American? Back in the days I was dressed down by an American-wanna-be Filipina. She was soooo rude regardless i’wuz so nice to her.

  4. andrew lim says:

    Takes guts for an American to call out his embassy on this. I guess it stems from the lack of a comprehensive and tightly defined immigration law which is now under discussion (or approved?).

    I also have this suspicion of secret profiling done on airline passengers by the TSA (which I support): if you are male, 20-50yrs old, of Arabic/Middle Eastern descent and have criscrossed the Middle East, you are given more attention: face recognition software, background checks, longer interviews, longer pat-downs, etc. Of course, TSA has to show it is not so, by doing the same on grandmothers, kids, disabled people, etc. he he he

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      I welcome pat downs. I feel safe.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, I have no trouble with profiling to prevent murder, or tapping my phones and siphoning everything off my computer. Or as Mariano says, doing the airport pat-downs. That’s good work. Important work.It inconveniences a lot of people but has serious impact on only a wee small set of real threats.

      The Embassy’s profiling is the RULE, It is the way business is done. It affects thousands in a way considerably more severe than “inconvenience”.

  5. Lil says:

    In other news, BAYAD MUNA USA (BAYAN MUNA) just made themselves look pathetic by dragging several of JoeAm’s kababayans in their Anti PH government /Anti Aquino rallies. And when I mean pathetic, I also meant their official count was in the hundreds (compared to thier PH comrades). Lol. How did these worms get into Uncle Sam’s barung barong?

  6. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Those that are denied are the following:
    1. those that are not earning more than the equivalent of 120% of America’s poverty level. Not worth going TnT if they are earning this much here. A TnT cannot earn 120% in America.
    2. those who have immediate relatives and not earning 120%. If they go TnT and earns less than 120% the immediate relatives can give them room and board for cheap.
    3. cannot show an average of half-a-mil pesos of bank deposits for the past 3 years. If they do not have this much average deposits their BIR1701 must have been likely doctored.
    4. Those that earned 120% over 65 and retired. In America, regardless of status gives equal medical treatment to the illegals especially over 65. Taxpayers pays for it.

    Following that are not denied:
    1. If you are Nicole and retract charges;
    2. despite doctored documents, with god’s intervention thru unceasing 24/7 novena and fasting,
    3. corporate sponsorship
    4. politicians

    • The Mouse says:

      LOL!

    • edgar lores says:

      On corporate sponsorhsip:

      1. I was being sponsored by a company to take up special computer courses in Cupertino but was initially denied a visa.
      2. I was male, single, under 40, but with a college degree. 😉
      3. The basis of denial was that I was a flight risk because of my high employability.
      4. A visa was procured in a second interview. Reason? I carried a recommendation letter from a respected ex-senator.

  7. chonoon says:

    I did not have any problem with the US Embassy when I renewed my two minor nephews passport, it only took one day. The consul was nice even offered the children with m&m candies…It was outside the embassy that I had the hard time for new photo since they were only babies when old passport picture was taken. I think American consul were more civil than Filipino consul in the US, they asked money for fund raising (soliciting) no good.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Those that helped the Americans profiled the Filipinos are 1st gen Filipino-Americans. State Dept do not rely on 2nd gen Filipoino-Americans because they are so american that lost touch of their Filipinoness.

  8. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    I think I am treated badly by Filipinos in the Philippine Embassy in Los Angeles like that one rude American-wanna-be Filipinoa at U.S. Embassy in Manila than by real Americans. It is sad to say that Filipinos in Philippine Embassy in Los Angeles treat their fellow Filipinos with no respect at all as if we owe them something.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      It appears all the comments above do not or cannot discern if they are being treated badly, could be cultural. Filipinos always think that whites that speak goot english are superior therefore the patrons of US. embassy must be thinking if they are rude because Filipino patrons must have done something wrong.

  9. JosephIvo says:

    For one government agency profiling is heroism, for the other agency profiling is racism. For one agency working in secrecy is essential to catch the bag guys, for the other agency even working with unclear instructions is unacceptable. I got lost a little. I agree that preventing illegal immigration is not as important as preventing terrorism even if you correct with the probability figures, but not visiting the US is also less important than losing your privacy (and yes Mariano will tell that for Filipinos visiting the US is 100x more important than privacy).

    But you scared me, we intend to visit some old friends in the US early next year. My partner is single (waiting years now for the annulment), female, still in her 30’s and we hope she gets her college degree only in April next year. Now I’m afraid that I might need a fixer to supply us with the right answers / lies (?). I hate embassies too and their almighty attitudes, you have to kiss the feet of the security guards before you can enter and it only get worse after that.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Joseph, they only ask you questions what is in the bio. It is actually 1% question 99% profiling. Many of those denied were already negatively profiled. Applying for tourist visa to the US is now streamined. Just drop it in the mail. If they request your personal appearance you’ll get that letter and an ppointment. Otherwise, either you get the Visa or Denied.

      • Joe America says:

        The application work is now done on line. You prepay the fee on line or through a bank branch. It takes some work to do the application, but it is straightforward, and you can set an appointment online at your convenience, according to what slots are available. That part of the system is modern and convenient.

        It is the 99% profiling that is horrid.

      • Lil says:

        Bah. This may sound like discrimination or “colonial mentality” but I’d rather be interviewed by any American or even Canadian except Filipinos (including Chinese, other Asians). Put these Flip folks in any position of authority i.e. us embassy rep, interviewer, bank loan officer, car salesman etc. and they are “trying hard” know-it-alls, show-offs who are unnecessarily strict especially towards their countrymen and fellow Asians. Sure, Joe may complain about his kababayans but at least his kababayans’ rate of aberration is lower than these Damn Flips and Asians.
        My infinite theory is that these Asians/Pacific Islanders have a frigging insecurity and crab mentality that they have not lost since the Philippines.
        And that my ladies and gents, is why Da Pinas CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, if you deal straight, I fear it is a certain decline for your partner. Single and young and female are deal killers. I don’t think there are any right answers, and there may be no more than a handful of questions asked. None material. If she owns a home or has large deposits here or a job of material income, I’d suggest putting that on a one page piece of paper and getting that to the agent no matter what he asks. But I doubt even that will be enough to offset the presumption of flight for a single young woman.

      By the way, you are not allowed to go in with her for the interview. A number of techniques are used to intimidate applicants. Isolation, imperial agents, use of legalese, blame.

      The guards at the Embassy are Filipino and are the most courteous people in the house, after you get by the first one. He is necessarily tough as he is the key as to who gets in.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      – If Individual Income tax form 1701 does not reconcile with average monthly bank deposits applicants are in hot water.
      – if deposits was in bulk and very recent, applicants are likely denied. No interview necessary
      – They laugh at our birth certificates despite it is on “secuirty paper”.
      – They scrutinize marriage certificates because it is rampant that those petitioned as single are already married. And the request process at NCSO is not computerized. It is mano-a-mano.
      – women are subjected to “stretch mark” visual check-up when they apply for immigrant visa to determine if she has had child birth. If immigration bio says she’s single and she’s positive of “stretch mark” she’s doomed.

      That is why Nicole’s Visa is still classified to this day considering hoops to jump. And, oh, Nicole is happy. She has no plan to go back to Philippines. And of course, what makes me wonder is job was waiting for her. Therefore, she didn’t go to the U.s. with tourist visa. It is a visa that everyone covets that is rare as a diamond in a pan.

    • JosephIvo says:

      Embassies hold a monopoly, there is no alternative, they know it and act accordingly, all are saturated with their diplomatic privileges. I experienced the same attitude in a dozen or more embassies and consulates all over the world. Professional fixer can help you preparing to comply with the requirements of the day, they know the preferred questions, where you need originals, authenticated copies or just plain Xeroxes and even more important, the preferred paper size, the font size, the need for a paperclip or a envelope, essential things to prove subservience to a bureaucrat. (Only in the Philippines they need a Xerox of an authenticated copy. Once I had the original tittle, not good enough, I had to go to another government agency to get an authenticated copy of the tittle, nice blue frame, watermarked paper, have it Xeroxed in black and white and submit the Xerox, for safety you also have add a copy of the original receipt of the other agency!!!)

      Luckily in Europe the monopolistic powers are changing a little bit, when my partner’s Shengen visa (one visa for 26 European countries) was denied in one country, she was kindly assisted in another and got her Shengen visa without problems.

      But problems still remain, for some countries you have to have documents (e.g. to prove that you are still alive) authenticated in the embassy of the country of your official residence, in others of the country of your nationality and in some of the country requiring the document. Once I was sent back and forward 4 times and eventually I got a written declaration of one embassy that they could not sign because I was not a national and the one that eventually signed after seeing the tears in my eyes, printed in red on my document that they only signed because the country requesting the document refused to sign! 4 trips to Manila, 4 days and thousands of pesos lost (while I wait my partner goes shopping), all resulting in mountains of frustration.

      Joe, please keep it simple, talk only about wars with China, the eradication of corruption in the world, solutions to alleviate poverty and other subjects like that, things we can handle. Embassies are too much for me.

      • Joe America says:

        Sorry to boggle your mind and offer huge helpings of discouragement, disillusionment and depression.

        I don’t think fixers will help with U.S. applications.

        But I shall return to China, corruption, poverty, the quirks of culture, media and other SOLVABLE problems on Wednesday. The Embassy is an imperial realm, an impenetrable fortress of might and right, and we are but minions of negligible being. We shall let her drift off like the Borg of unkind behavior she really is and deal with things we can talk to.

  10. begalon says:

    The US embassy is the gateway to America where they have to do their job right first time, so, I dont mind the super tight security which is driven by the 911 tragedy. Let me remind you that Atta and number of those terrorists should have been denied passage to America.

    My complaints really is the unsat services the embassy staff provides to “American Crooks” and I have to borrow that word from Joe. Some of those staff I dealt with are unfortunately Filipino who doesnt even know how to anwer the phone properly. What happened to the American standard where we anwer the phone “Good morning/afternoon sir/maam, this is
    Ms Good Service, how may I help you?” Yes, those Filipino staff had turned down the American standard to Filipino standard in terms of customer service. How is this possible?

    Truly, I have no service problem with any Americans in the US Embassy, I would highly recommend that they undergo a customer service training among the Filipino staff on how to serve the Americans properly. Americans expect a first class service and not be treated like a second class citizen.

    Hey Joe, I think this is a valid complaint and the US Embassy, Manila should pay attention to. A first class service not only to Americans, but the rest of their customers.

    Ms

    • Joe America says:

      I agree. I think they DO provide training, but it gets wearing for the reps in dealing with case after case, many with problems. The most horrible thing to think about to me would be if they were less considerate of Filipino American citizens (you) than American American citizens (me). An American is an American and the thought of the Embassy not being there to serve ANY citizen in the most helpful, courteous way would drive me nuts. American citizen services, you go through the left door, and ought to be treated as if you owned the place. I hardly think that is the current practice, by the way, but it ought to be.

      • begalon says:

        True, American is American that I agree and let us leave it as it is.

        Whereas, I am not convince that there is racial issue at the US Embassy, Manila. What I am sure of is that they have a security policy to follow.

        I think frofiling is an important process in conceptualizing. It had been used since cave people and become ugly and dirty when the term was professionally used by the intelligence and other govt agencies dealing with securities. I am not sure if the term was discovered by the media to make them look like the bad guys.

        So, profilng is acceptable when used in good faith and not to be abused. I mean what is the difference between characterizing and profiling an individual? For example: A private person could characterize Pres Obama, but if and when a govt agency do the same thing the media or other people will call it profiling.

        • Joe America says:

          As Mariano said some time ago, we all profile in a way, when we generalize as to the characteristics of others. So if I were to say “Filipinos are hard-headed”, that is a form of profiling. It is used in good faith and for good purposes, as you indicated, to help figure out what traits are good or bad, which to be taught in school, or abandoned. It is merely an idea that does not harm anyone.

          A policeman in Texas profiling a driver as Mexican and pulling him over to check his car registration and ID, while letting a white driver drive past, is conducting a form of profiling that is generally considered harmful and unfair.

          The embassy saying that tourist applicants have to demonstrate ties to the Philippines, but behind the glass is profiling them along age, marital status lines, and not giving applicants a chance to state their case, is not acting in good faith, in my eyes. And it affects people. It prevents people from accompanying their loved ones (take JosephIvo’s case, where he and his partner want to visit the U.S. together to visit friends and family). Imagine taking that away from someone for the superficial reading of age and sex and marital status, rather than honestly examining tangible ties (assets, job, or good character proved through references). Or giving them a chance to post a bond.

          As an American, you can go sit in the pavilion at the Embassy and watch people leaving in tears, or angry enough to spit, because they were asked five superficial questions and declined.

          It is exactly the distinction between good faith and bad faith. I think Embassy practices are in bad faith. We don’t have to call it racism. But it is dirty dealing, in my view.

          I’ve seen too many people hurt by it, and heard about the angers, and I’m absolutely convinced it does not have to be that way.

          • begalon says:

            Yes, profiling is not good like what that Texas policeman had done. However, I expect that the US embassy should use their best judgment and in accordance with the standing policy on all applicants allowing them to immigrate or visit America.

            I think some applicants are denied because they are not forthcoming and less than honest.

  11. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Tickle-me-Elmo!!! Philippines is shifting warships and tora-tora vintage aircrafts to ex-US naval base for immediate strategic response … WoW!
    http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/article/1292876/philippines-may-shift-warships-ex-us-naval-base
    Please do not … There are still 1,500 Filipinos wanting to leave Philippines daily …

  12. manuel buencamino says:

    In the early days of Australia when its whites only immigration policy was at its height, the Australian government concealed their racism by administering a 50 words dictation test to immigrants/visitors. Immigration officers would read a passage from any language, read it fast, slur it whatever and if the immigrant made a mistake then they could not enter Australia. So that’s what the US Embassy can do. Administer a similar test to all single females under forty and with no college degree. They will still be assholes but at least they won’t be racist assholes. 🙂

    • Attila says:

      Interesting! When I was in the refugee camp in Traiskirchen ( largest in Europe that time) in the 80’s women were automatically accepted by Australia. The female residents of the camp did not bother to register with any other country for an interview as it was well known that Australia was a sure thing. I did not hear one case where a female was turned away by Australia. Many single mothers were also there. However if you were a male than you better had a sponsor who would cover your expenses and take responsibility for you, speak good English and prove that you had a skill that was in need that time. The list of professions that were in need that time was secret and always changed. We could not figure it out. That was part of their point system. I tried twice and I was turned away each time. Canada had a similar point system. The USA was the only one who did not care about your profession or English skills and sponsors etc. All they cared about if you were a criminal or a communist. They USA is by far the fairest country in the world!

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      “… slur it … ” A potential immigrant cannot know if the words were slurred or not. I cannot understand Australian language despite it is in english because of how they speak it. … maybe they slurred it in front of me …

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      American immigration discriminates. They only take in nurses (which is not true because POEA stats says America only imported 1,500 nurses for year 2011) and they prefer Asian-Indian coders for Silicon Valley over Filipnos. Those that lacks brains are unceremoniously denied.

    • Joe America says:

      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  13. patrioticflip says:

    Not entirely related, but thought you might like this article:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/08/the-strange-sexual-quirk-of-filipino-seafarers/278285/

    “The special brand the Filipinos have fashioned for themselves revolves around an adventurous spirit, creative troubleshooting with machines, and an eloquent way of communicating the stories they tell about their skills. Onboard and in ports across the world, they weave tales to mark their territory. In one of McKay’s papers, he writes about a Filipino captain who gave him a pitch about the handiness of his nationality’s sailors, especially when things go awry. “The Filipino, he can fix anything … Other nationalities, if they see there are no spare parts, they will say, ‘okay, that’s it, we’ll wait ’til we’re in port,'” the man told McKay. “But Filipinos somehow will get it working again. They’ll make a new part or fix one.”

    But their awareness of ready replacements has also made Filipino crew members insecure and hesitant. Industry insiders and other international crew members have interpreted this caution as effeminate, and a signal that they are good disciplined “followers,” according to McKay, but not necessarily natural leaders. That notion, he believes, has stunted their upward mobility. In the mid-1970s, 90 percent of Filipinos working on ships served as lower-level crew members, and 10 percent had junior-level officer jobs. Thirty years later in 2005, those numbers had only shifted slightly: 73 percent were still serving in lower-level roles, 19 percent had clinched junior officer titles, and only 8 percent were at the senior level. Filipino captains are still uncommon.

    Viewed in this context, bolitas (more in the article about this) is more than just a physical oddity adopted for the benefit of port women. It’s an important element of the Filipinos’ larger battle to assert their masculinity and compensate in a rivalry that they can’t always win aboard the ship. “It’s part of that competition that starts in the labor market that then bleeds over into culture,” McKay said. “They are dealing with how others see them.”

    -patrioticflip

    • Joe America says:

      Sorry for the delay in responding, PF. I’ve been out of town.

      That is a rather quirky but most interesting article. I thought I was reading one of Robert Ludlum’s spy stories, where people in rough jobs or port cities are revealed for the character they develop. I can see a sub-culture of Filipino evolving, that not everyone fits into, but maybe a lot do. It is certainly an area I know little about. Thanks for the enlightenment.

  14. jane says:

    I just experienced everything you have written, I am young, single, female Filipina though I have a college degree and have my own online shop business, I even have a rent to own condo under my name, I also brought my 3 bank accounts but sadly all those documents never leave my hand, I was denied because for the consul “online shop” is not a real job and living on my own means that I do not have strong ties with my family, really, this is a modern world, a lot of businesess in the Philippines are owned by very young people and living independently doesn’t mean I don’t have a strong relationship with my family not true at all I just want to have my own place. i was interviewed for just like 3 minutes as if the consul was already decided to deny me His questions was not important at all like Do you have brother and sister? Huh it was so unfair, I can’t believed they decide on visa that way! How come they dont realize that an original and important documents will reveal more than a nerve wracking super short interview. Huh my sentiments will never be heard by the embassy for sure just like my well prepared documents never leave my hand!

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, you fit the profile of high flight risk. Young, single, female. You were declined before you arrived. The shame is that the Embassy provides no real criteria for a fair review and punishes people by making them try for a visa even when it is 100% likely they will be rejected. They don’t deal straight. I am ashamed for my country, actually. And if you protest you get back a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo with no helpful guidance.

  15. This is an awesome blog! I hope everyone who applies for a US visa would get to read this. Three days ago, I felt the same thing. Injustice. And yeah, more like racism. I am a student and was still asked if I have a source of income. I was expecting the consul officer would ask me my parents’ income or properties but nothing was asked about it. It’s just really disappointing. I mean the whole process of it. I felt being bullied in my OWN country. I really pray that the Philippines will rise and be a first world nation!

    • Joe America says:

      I’m glad you could relate to the blog, and I wish the Embassy could figure out a better way to process applications.

      • Paulene Nistal says:

        Hello! We just had our interview today.I was with my husband for an f1 and f2 visas for he wants to study and earn a degree for Audio Recording Technology because we wanted to have our own Recording studio here in PH. But we were DENIED because the VO accuses us that we will be migrating to the US through the non-imigrant visa. He did not even asked for our I-20! And worst he even put a Cancelled without prejudice stamp on my husband’s passport for his Tourist Visa which is valid for 10 years! Come to think of it! If we would like to violate Immigration rules in the US, we would not risk the chance of visiting the US for 10 fvckin years! We were so insulted of being accused as such. I wish Pres. Duterte would also encourage to have strict compliance to vising Americans be it immigrants or non-immigrants!

        • Yes, my wife and I had a similar experience in applying for a tourist visa for her, and I sent a series of e-mails to them asking for the real reason why they declined. They kept sending back blathering legal notes and I kept explaining how that did not help, suggesting their criteria made no sense whatsoever, and giving them facts. They will never concede they are wrong. We re-filed and were approved.

          The problem is the volume of applications is enormous and a lot of Filipinos in the US DO skip out on their visa. So they have to decline a lot, and I think it will be even tougher under Trump.

  16. Zian Paul says:

    The consul is RANDOMLY approve or denied people in my case I had everything they want Bank Statement that has P700,000.00, i also have a American Bank, an Invitation letter from a US citizen, Employment Records/Status and also I’m in a currently enrolled Student, so might think i ask for certification that says I’m currently Enrolled and guess what I’ve been in US last year for my internship, This Chinese- American consul asked me what I’m going to do in US, simply i replied I’ll spend my Christmas and New Year with my Boyfriend, She Don’t ask about the other stuff or asking to prove such as the supporting documents She just say sorry your ineligible and denied under Section 214(b). Im like WTH They kinda ask for all of the supporting documents but don’t want to see it, Ugggh!! and BTW they approve the other guy that I’m talking to, well He don’t have Bank Statement He said that they just interviewed him…so there for I conclude that they just kinda RANDOMLY SELECT PEOPLE…. coz how could they justify this doesn’t make sense

  17. Marlyn says:

    Hi, my father and sister just recently got denied. They waited for so long inside the embassy and once they were called they were asked some questions and they answered all of them. But at the end they were denied. The lady console didn’t even look at any of the papers we provided. She just denied them right away. I would understand if it was just my sister since she is still a student and young but my father though? I don’t understand. We are so heart broken. I will be walking down the isle by myself since she didn’t approved my father. 😦

    • Joe America says:

      Yes. The anger and heartbreak committed by the Embassy is terrible. All they have to do is publish, forthrightly, who will be denied and for what reasons. It is the idiotic arbitrariness that is infuriating. And the insistence that applicants prepare documents that are not even looked at. And the weak right of appeal that is met with legalistic form letters conveying a bunch of nonsense. The Embassy represents me here in the Philippines, and they do a lousy job at it. I’m sorry they were so crass and small-hearted, and caused you that pain.

      I wrote this blog to try to get a message through to them. It seems to be a voice lost to them, as are all the appeals and heart break.

  18. Alan Ang says:

    US Embassy give us a hard time they asking too much and they let us spending a lot of money and forced us to apply a usa passport , all we need a immegrant visa . I wish the US Senate and congress dress up the us embassy manila . And majority all pilipino people working in the us embassy are all humble and mayabang and discrimination , yelling the senior old people . They need to know the america Constitution freedam to speach . We”re American Citizen of the United State . US Embassy manila are mess and big Discrimination.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I agree they are autocratic, arbitrary, and unkind, as an institution. But the Americans there can be just as harsh as the Filipinos. My wife was rejected on her visa the first time by a white American interviewing officer. There are two justifying decisions for their rude ways: (1) too many Filipinos go to the US and stay, in violation of their visas, and (2) they have to process around 1,500 visa applications a day, and it is simply too enormous a challenge, so they don’t take much time with anyone.

      My point is that if they were clearer about the conditions causing decline, they could cut out the work load. People who couldn’t qualify would not apply the first time, and people arbitrarily declined with no good reason give would not keep re-applying, adding to the volume of traffic.

      It sure makes no sense to me.

  19. Doreen says:

    Just wait for the current president to act on this. The US embassy here is just milking the FIlipinos of money through profiling. You are correct Joe. What a shame. It is akin to scamming.

  20. Kaye Justine says:

    US Embassy in the Philippines is a big scam. A consul in window 29 (white guy) keeps on denying SINGLE applicants! This is horrible. He does not look any of the documents submitted (B1/B2) and thus, looks for the passport only! Don’t apply if you do not have any travel outside Philippines, just make sure your passport has a lot of stamps! If you are a single lady/man make sure, your work salary can sustain your visit there. Oh well, I am not applying anymore, such a waste of money. Good thing, my Schengen VISA is APPROVED.

    • Yes, it is infuriating. It is not a scam though. It is a real problem that so many Filipinos skip out on the return trip, and stay in the US illegally. That is what drives the rejections. So Filipinos have to ‘own’ the root reason for the rejections. Plus, they handle such a huge volume of applicants, it is difficult to do justice to the borderline cases. My wife was also rejected the first time, also by a white guy who did not look at anything but her age and marital status.

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  1. […] this policy is all but stated outright. A blog post from a few years ago about the consulate in the Philippines alleged that any single woman under the age of 40 would be denied a US visa because her ties to the […]

  2. […] this policy is all but stated outright. A blog post from a few years ago about the consulate in the Philippines alleged that any single woman under the age of 40 would be denied a US visa because her ties to the […]



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