On June 23, 2011, the House Judiciary Committee approved H.R. 1741 known as the “Secure Visas Act.”

Currently visa processing outside of the United States is shared by both the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security. Each department is given specific roles and authorities in executing visa applications, which allows for a more streamlined process and provides a “checks and balances” system so that no particular agency has too much authority. According the AILA President David Leopold,  The Secure Visas Act will terminate the current balance and “give primacy to DHS over the development and execution of visa policy as performed by consular officers. In one move, the bill turns upside down the careful balance of foreign affairs, diplomacy and national security that State and Homeland Security have navigated for many years. Furthermore, greater costs and additional processing delays would likely result from provisions that give DHS authority to station permanent personnel in foreign consular posts to review and override decisions of State Department staff.”

Even more concerning, The Secure Visas Act eliminates all judicial review over decisions by officers to revoke a visa.  Our firm has great concern as to how this will affect many foreign nationals that are in the U.S.  Should an officer decide to revoke someone’s visa in the U.S., and they end up in removal proceedings, no judge can review the officer’s decision to revoke the visa .  This is very problematic as officials already have very broad authority to revoke visas and the decision to do so is often done without proper assessment or a thorough understanding of the laws.  Taking away judicial review of an officer’s decision to revoke a visa assumes Government officials do not make mistakes and that is one statement the Law Offices of Anna M. Hysell is not quite ready to accept.