IMMIGRATION SOLUTIONS; Lawsuit Filed to Correct Inappropriate Medical Exam Questioning and Misapplication of the Law at the US Embassy in Manila, Philippines

Manila Bulletin, October 2, 2005 | Go to article overview

IMMIGRATION SOLUTIONS; Lawsuit Filed to Correct Inappropriate Medical Exam Questioning and Misapplication of the Law at the US Embassy in Manila, Philippines


Byline: Robert L. Reeves

Reeves & Associates, an immigration law firm, has filed a lawsuit against the Department of State and the US Embassy in Manila, Philippines to stop improper questioning of individuals concerning experimental use of drugs in order to impose a lifetime bar for qualified visa applicants seeking to enter the United States. The case was filed on August 29, 2005 and will be tried before the Honorable Percy Anderson, Case No. CV 05-6408 PA (SSx). This lawsuit will address improper actions of physicians at the medical exams as well as misapplication of the law by officers during the consular interview. Reeves & Associates expects this case will have a far-reaching impact on thousands of visa applicants who have been barred from the United States by the Manila embassy.

Robert DuPont, attorney for the Reeves Firm comments "This is not a case about admitting drug addicts or drug dealers into the United States. This case concerns the permanent denial of visas to persons who have admitted one time experimental use of drugs such as marijuana, or who admit drug use that is remote in time. We have studies from the National Institute on Drug Abuse which show over one-half of American high-schoolers have experimented with drugs. Even US Presidents have admitted to experimentation with drugs. Congress never intended youthful experimentation to be a reason to exclude qualified visa holders."

The case challenges the Manila Embassy's use of the medical exam to extract "admissions" from unwitting visa applicants. The medical exam is a requirement for all immigrant and some non-immigrant visa categories. The purpose of the medical exam as defined by the Centers for Disease Control is to identify medical conditions, including current use or addiction to drugs, not to identify youthful experimentation for the purpose of developing evidence to bar visa applicants for life.

It is believed that certain officials at the US Embassy in Manila are instructing physicians to obtain admissions of past drug use, even experimentation, and then use that information to permanently bar visa applicants from entry into the United States. The danger here is that once applicants learn they should not share information with physicians at the medical exam, applicants will also not share crucial information concerning the state of their health.

"Physicians are reportedly using deceit and misrepresentation, by misleading individuals as to the consequences of answering repeated questions regarding drug use. These actions undermine the whole medical exam process which depends on trust in a doctor patient relationship and that patients are forthcoming with their medical information." stated attorney Robert DuPont. …

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