State Dept/CBP Reportedly Announced Fix for Certain Applicants Ensnared By Visa Glitch

— Domani Spero
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The State Department’s Consular Consolidated Database has been having performance issues since July 19th. We have written about it in this blog (see State Dept Answers FAQ on Ongoing Visa and Passport Database Performance Issues and  State Dept’s Critical National Security Database Crashes, Melts Global Travelers’ Patience).

Last week, Greenberg Traurig posted on The National Law Review that the State Department and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have reportedly announced a fix for certain visa applicants affected by the technical glitch.

“DOS and CBP will, on a case-by-case basis, waive nonimmigrant visa (H-1B, L-1, O-1, etc.) requirements for admission into the United States. In particular, applicants whose U.S. travel involves an “emergency” (i.e., humanitarian travel and life-and-death situations) or impacts U.S. national interests may request consideration for special travel permission.”

The post further states that if “emergency” travel is approved, the embassy or consulate will issue a transportation letter for presentation to common carriers to allow boarding of international U.S.-bound flights. (See DOS and CBP Announce Fix for Certain Visa Applicants Who Are Experiencing Consular Delays Due to Recent Technical Challenges).

This information is nowhere to be found on the State Department’s website or on the Visa Section of travel.state.gov nor the FB page of the Bureau of Consular Affairs. No such announcement is made available from the CBP website.

An  August 10 update from U.S.-China Visa Law Blog includes the following details:

A nonimmigrant visa applicant whose U.S. travel is urgent because it either involves an “emergency” or impacts U.S. national interests, may request consideration for special travel permission to the United States if their visa issuance is delayed as a result CCD systems problems. “Emergencies” in this instance include urgent humanitarian travel and life-and-death situations. Upcoming business engagements and U.S. employment needs are “not typically considered humanitarian emergencies and likely will not be considered as such in most cases.”

If approved jointly by the State Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the consular post that accepted the visa application will release the traveler’s passport and will issue a transportation letter, which can be presented to the airlines to allow boarding of international U.S.-bound flights. Upon arrival to a U.S. port of entry and presentation of the transportation letter, CBP will waive the nonimmigrant visa requirement for admission.

Read more:  An Computer Crash Hobbles U.S. Visa, Passport Operations in China (Aug. 10 Update).

It is, of course, just a coincidence that the two sources noting the transportation letter fix are both law firms working on immigration, right? 😉  CA bureau’s FB page does not have an August 8 or August 10 update that includes this information. If there was an announcement, are we to understand that it was done on limited distribution with the State/CBP telling lawyers about this but not releasing this guidance to the general public?

We must confess that we’ve made a mistake of asking for clarification about this from the press office of the Bureau of Consular Affairs.  It turns out that some  folks there are unable to answer “yes” or “no” questions and are only able to provide cut and paste “on background” information for recycled details already publicly available.

Don’t get us wrong. It certainly is impressive cut and paste skills, but we won’t help them recycle the canned info and add to the glut.

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US Embassy Dublin: Roger Kiley Impersonates Customs Attaché, What’s Love Gotta Do With It?

Via USDOJ:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Pleads Guilty to Impersonating U.S. Customs Attaché

WASHINGTON – A supervisory customs and border protection officer pleaded guilty today in the Southern District of Florida to impersonating a U.S. Customs attaché and making false statements related to his assignment with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Preclearance Office in Dublin, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer for the Southern District of Florida.

Roger J. Kiley, 42, of Miami, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Ursula Mancusi Ungaro in Miami to a criminal information charging him with one count of false personation and one count of making a false statement.

According to court documents, Kiley was stationed at the CBP Preclearance Office in Dublin from 2009 to 2011.   As part of his plea agreement, Kiley admitted that he began a romantic relationship with a Dublin resident in 2010.   Kiley also admitted that he held himself out to this individual as the Customs attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, a government position that did not exist, and that he could arrange for the embassy to lease the residence she was living in as his embassy residence.   Kiley further admitted that he created a fake lease from the embassy as well as a funding cable for the payment of the lease on the residence.   Kiley also admitted that he created a bogus letter from the embassy authorizing the relocation of Kiley and his romantic interest to the United States, and that he forged the signature of the deputy chief of mission on the letter.   Kiley further admitted that he lied to federal agents in February 2012 when interviewed about the allegations of misconduct while he was in Dublin.

Kiley faces up to three years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a year of supervised release for the charge of false personation.   He faces five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release for the false statement charge.   Kiley is also responsible for restitution in the amount of $2,500.  Sentencing has been scheduled for Dec. 7, 2012.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Richard B. Evans of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Robin W. Waugh, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.   The case is being investigated by the CBP Office of Internal Affairs.

Makes you wonder what’s the back story of this case.  Did the romantic interest found out he was a fake attaché  with a one bedroom apartment when they relocated back to the United States and marched to Internal Affairs? If love made him do it, will the Court be lenient about that five year possible prison term?

– DS