1 Million TNTs in the US?

From our previous interviews with US Consuls at the US Embassy in Manila as well as information from industry sources and intermittent data released by the Department of State, the rate of non-returnees (Filipinos issued tourist visas and overstayed in the US) is about 20%.

An immigrant group in the US says there are "more than one million undocumented Filipinos in the US." An excerpt of the claim, published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer today, Jan. 31, 2013 is shown below:

“We welcome this positive development that brings hope to the more than one million undocumented Filipinos in the US,” said Arturo P. Garcia, one of the Fil-Am members of People’s Core Immigrant Rights and Advocacy Services who gathered at La Placita Methodist Church in Los Angeles to watch a live telecast of Obama’s speech.

We are not sure where this number or stat comes from, but as immigrant advocates with more than 20 years of immersion in the Filipino communities in the US and the Philippines, we would have to go by the 20% non-return rate of those granted US tourist visas. This is not official, but educated estimates based on the souirces.

Officially, an average of 300,000 Filipinos are admitted into the United States on temporary or nonimmigrant visas. In 2002, the number was 302,199, dipping to 267,681 the next year, slowly moving upwards again to 284,065 in 2006, then breaking the 300,000 barrier the year after until it peaked in 2010 at 326,609.

The number of TNTs apprehended and arrested for being undocumented, illegal or overstaying in 2010 was 22,917. In the same year, 21,432 were removed or deported back to the Philippines. In 2005, there were only 1,636 TNTs apprehended. It could be interpreted that there were less TNTs at that time, or they have run out of places to "tago".

Of last count (before the US Embassy moved to its new building) the average number of nonimmigrant visa applicants were 1,200 a day or 6,000 a week (Mon-Fri); 24,000 a month or 288,000 per year. This number is close to the official number of admissions shown in the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Yearbook of Statistics for 2011 which is the source for the above-referenced figures.

If 20% of 300,000 Filipinos overstayed their visas, there would be 60,000 a year. Arguably, the 1 million TNTs in the US that Mr.Garcia mentioned would have accumulated over a 17 period at least.

The initiative of Pres. Obama is good. The downside to immigrant visa applicants here in the Philippines is that, the TNTs in the US are also competing for the same number of visas allocated to the Philippines yearly which is 25,620. It has been the practice that those in the US get more numbers as the USCIS could easily use up the yearly quota leaving less visas left for those waiting to get their immigrant visas at consular offices abroad.

The link to the news article is here: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/63159/fil-ams-laud-obamas-good-news-for-1m-filipinos

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About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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