Some Immigrants Denied Green Cards Because of Tattoos

wsj.com

Some immigrants are being denied green cards based on their tattoos. The checks have left immigrants -- mostly from Latin America -- without green cards and without recourse, according to the Wall Street Journal. Immigration attorneys cite the concern surrounding foreign gangs entering the country as the reason why many applicants have been denied green cards or legal permanent residency. The denials are based on a selection of immigration law that justifies "inadmissibility" on nationa-security grounds, including possible affiliation with criminal organizations. 

But according to a spokeswoman for the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, the presence of tattoos isn't a sole reason to deny an application. She indicated to the Wall Street Journal that "more attention has been paid to tattoos as indicators of a gang affiliation during the visa process" as law enforcement has better understood the relationship between "certain tattoos" and gangs. 

Some use certain tattoos, such as a pair of theatrical masks known as "smile now, cry later", as evidence that profiling by tattoos doesn't work. While once a tattoo that symbolized gang membership, it now has been adopted by the wider public. Many critics also point out that these decisions violate one's rights. "They cast too wide a net and border dangerously on violating first amendment freedom of speech and expression," said Jeff Joseph, a Denver immigration lawyer. 

What do you think? Is profiling criminal behavior and gang relation based on tattoos wrong or necessary? Leave a comment!

 

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Samantha Leal, Deputy Editor

Sam edits and oversees all site content with a focus on fashion, beauty and lifestyle. When she's not working, you can find her watching way too many YouTube videos and reading (YA novels, mostly). Follow her on Twitter @samanthajoleal.

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