Given the wave of Colombians who in recent months have attempted to enter the United States irregularly through the southern border - according to a report by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), more than 40,000 Colombians have been detained in 2022, which represents a five-fold increase compared to the total illegal migration in 2021. (CBP), more than 40,000 Colombians have been detained during 2022.
Experts in migration from Hayman-Woodward, a firm specialized in dealing with cases involving mobility between countries, the specialists answered questions about the reasons behind the dramatic increase in this figure and what legal options Colombians have to enter the United States without having to risk, mainly, their lives.
Why did irregular migration rise so dramatically?
Nathalie Roa (N.R.): The political situation in Colombia is shaking, because people are very afraid. We have lived very closely the process in Venezuela and we know the impact that it entails. However, many people do not know about the visas and legal options offered by the U.S. and believe that the best option is to enter through the border, solely out of ignorance.
What happens to those who have already entered irregularly?
N.R.: Entering through the border makes it difficult to request a visa because of the lack of a legal framework. There are many migrants, not only Colombians, who continue the asylum process in detention, trying to demonstrate unfounded fear as a reason for leaving their countries. In many cases this ends in deportation.
Lucía Camargo (L.C.): It should also be noted that many do not speak English, so they are detained without knowing their rights and do not have the funds to hire an attorney who can pay a bond. They are awarded a court-appointed attorney but, because of the volume of detainees, due process cannot be guaranteed.
Based on this situation, what is your business?
L.C.: What we do is support global mobility. We help the applicant to make his or her migration experience as smooth as possible and to do it in a legal way. We offer different services to facilitate incorporation in another country, for example, in financial planning, tax planning and educational management.
N.R.: Something that people don't know is that the U.S. has more than 180 visas available, so we can help clients in this wide range. There are many ways to obtain those visas, mainly through family or professional channels.
The most common visas
According to experts, the United States offers more than 180 visas to be able to immigrate regularly to the country. Among the most common are the tourist or B-2 visas, which include travelers or visitors of family members in the U.S. state.
There is also the B-1 visa, created for businesses, which includes business partners, scientific or educational assistance personnel, and even nannies and domestic employees.
In order to obtain a work visa, it is important to specify the type of work to be performed in the USA, as the type of document depends on it. For example, there is the H-2A visa, exclusively for agricultural workers, or the L visa, created for personnel who travel to work abroad within their company.