Ship jumpers, Border crossers and other “Illegal” immigrants
Jumping Ship is a thing of the past.
Question: I am a member of the crew on a luxury ship. I know many of my friends have basically ‘jumped ship’ once they got to the U.S. They would just be on the crew list and then once came to the U.S. they would jump ship, not return and are now illegally living in the U.S. Some have been deported and others cannot find work. Why does the U.S. make it so easy to do this?
Answer: Previously, the law permitted a crewmember to enter the United States on the basis of a crew manifest that has been given visas by a consular officer. However, this does not require a consular officer to visa a crew manifest and it authorizes the officer to deny admission to any individual alien whose name appears on a given visas crew manifest. However, in most instances, each and every crew member was not interviewed for the visa. It was the ‘crew manifest’ that was used. Now, the Crew List Visa has been eliminated.
Question: Why Has the Department Eliminated the Crew List Visa?
Answer: The Department has eliminated the crew list visa for security reasons. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Department has reviewed its regulations to ensure that every effort is being made to screen out persons whom they deem to be undesirable. By eliminating the crew list visa, the Department will ensure that each crewmember entering the United States is be required to complete the nonimmigrant visa application forms, submit a valid passport and undergo an interview and background checks. Additionally, visas issued after October 26, 2004 have a biometric indicator. This means crew list visas would necessarily be eliminated by that date.
Question: Won’t this now make it more difficult for crewman to get visas in the first-place?
Answer: Regarding difficulties for crewmen obtaining individual visas caused by last-minute scheduling, the Department recognizes the problem, but continues to believe that the security of the U.S. demands individual crew visas despite the dislocations that the requirement may cause initially. Nevertheless, the Department hopes that shipping companies and unions will encourage their employees and members to obtain visas where there is a reasonable possibility that a crewman may be required to enter the U. S. at any time.
Thus, as with most immigration related visa issues, it is getting more difficult to enter the U.S. Hopefully, this increased scrutiny and way of issuing visas will not hamper or impair the shipping industry into the U.S. Many ships change schedules during the last minute, or have to get crew persons to work the ships at a moments notice. If they cannot get the proper people to man and work the ships, it is possible that this new regulation and way of individually issuing visas to crewmembers will have an effect on the U.S. economy. Additionally, for those people who ‘jumped ship’, it is likely that they can and will still continue to do so as they will still be in the U.S. upon arrival. Clearly, persons should not do this and should find alternatives around coming to the U.S. and staying illegally. However, the new policy of issuing visas individually to crewmembers may not have the desired effect that the U.S. intends.