Inconsistent decisions at the border have created an uncertain and tricky situation for Canadian Jim Tibbatts. The 62 year old college professor is being asked to leave the country after having his visa previously renewed five times without a problem.
Harsher scrutiny of TN status
Tibbatts is an assistant professor at a Louisville, Kentucky community college but will no longer be working there because he is being asked to leave the country by September 7th. Eight years ago Tibbatts received his immigration status that allowed him to teach at a community college in the U.S. The status, known as TN, allows for citizens from Mexico and Canada to work in the U.S. in prearranged business activities. Despite previous renewals, Tibbatt’s recent visit to the border ended up in a denial of his TN status and he and his wife need to leave the country. Tibbatts sold his home and is preparing to face an uncertain future back in Canada.
Growing trend of unpredictability
Immigration attorneys are not surprised with Tibbatts’s predicament. His situation supports an example of the inconsistent decisions made at the border and a trend for tighter controls on administering visas. “I’ve worked really hard,” Tibbatts said. “I’ve tried to create careers for students. I’ve put my heart and soul into it. We’re not trying to stay here permanently. We know that’s against the rules.” Tibbatts plans to return to Canada eventually but wanted to stay at his school a few more years to create a program for his students that someone else could transition into smoothly. Tibbatts has paid U.S. taxes while he worked and brought a list of qualifications to the border, but was told he did not meet the criteria for TN status. The frustration lies with the fact that the laws have not changed over the past years, just the interpretations by the individuals.
Louisville immigration attorney Lisa Galvan commented that during the past few years there has been a trend in which decisions at the border take longer and requests “ultimately are being denied.” With a lack of predictability and “inconsistencies at the border,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection seems to be having overall administration problems.
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