ZDNet security editor Zack Whittaker interviewed founding attorney Sophie Alcorn for her insight on how immigration officials evaluate visa applications.
Alcorn’s comments were included in Whittaker’s article, “Black Hat speaker denied entry to US in another needless hit to security research.” The article appeared on ZDNet, a business technology news website, on July 25, 2017.
Discrimination “Not Uncommon”
In the article, Alcorn states that discriminatory practices by immigration officials are “not uncommon”:
“I recently spoke to a former State Department official who said that consular officers have almost unfettered discretion to make visa determinations,” said Sophie Alcorn. An immigration official in a bad mood can hand out a visa denial even if a person is eligible for immigration status, and visa waivers are often subject to even less review.
“In my experience, single, childless Muslims, and Arabic men are subject to higher denial rates simply because they bear more in common with what’s perceived as a ‘terrorist profile’,” she said. “And yet these individuals include a lot of very brilliant, intelligent, educated people who are work in tech, or are investors, or run companies, who want to advance knowledge and create jobs in America — it’s very frustrating.”
“Tensions are higher and decisions are bolder,” Alcorn said.
“The rhetoric from the presidential administration is trickling down to immigration officers,” Alcorn said. “They feel wider discretion compared to the previous administration.” She added that even though there has been nothing in the way of legislative immigration reform, the rhetoric “sends the message that immigrants aren’t welcome in the U.S.”
About Sophie Alcorn
A Stanford-educated expert on U.S. immigration and nationality law, Alcorn has practiced immigration law since 2008. Reporters from publications around the globe from The New York Times to the Financial Times have interviewed and quoted Alcorn.
Motivated by the belief that immigration causes innovation, Alcorn founded Alcorn Immigration Law in Silicon Valley in 2015. The Alcorn team has a 95% success rate obtaining visas and green cards for investors, employees, entrepreneurs, and their families.
Alcorn is often asked to speak on visas and other immigration issues for her ability to convey the nuances of the law in a clear, understandable manner. Contact us if you’d like to hear Alcorn speak on the latest immigration options.