Visa Processing at Ciudad Juarez: Safe or not safe?
The USCIS office at Ciudad Juarez has informed the immigration bar that, due to a memorial service to be conducted on Friday, March 19th, all appointments scheduled for that date will be rescheduled for March 26th or March 31st. The applicants will be notified by email or phone or they may contact the call center at 1-800-919-1754 in the United States and 01-477-788-7070 in Mexico.
The USCIS office at Ciudad Juarez has
informed the immigration bar that, due to a memorial service to be conducted on
Friday, March 19th, all appointments scheduled for that date will be
rescheduled for March 26th or March 31st. The applicants will be notified by
email or phone or they may contact the call center at 1-800-919-1754 in the
United States and 01-477-788-7070 in Mexico.
This rescheduling, in light of the recent
murders in Ciudad Juarez, raises the question: How safe is it to leave the U.S.
to attend a visa appointment in Ciudad Juarez? The answer: It all depends.
Certainly, given the rise in
terrorism directed towards the U.S. and our Embassies and Consulates abroad,
appearing at an Embassy/Consulate anywhere is always of concern. What makes it
more so now in Juarez is that as the drug wars in that city and other parts of
Mexico flare up, a Consulate can quickly be ordered shut for security reasons (
and in this case, funerals for staff members who were victims of the
violence).The March 14, 2010, Department of State website
The Department of State has
issued a Travel Warning to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and living in
Mexico of concerns about the security situation in Mexico, and that it has
authorized the departure of the dependents of U.S. government personnel from
U.S. consulates in the Northern Mexican border cities of Tijuana, Nogales,
Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros until April 12.
Family members of US Government personnel assigned to other areas of Mexico
outside the Mexican border states are not affected by this departure measure.
This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Alert dated February 22, 2010, and
announces the authorized departure of some dependents and updates security
While millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year (including tens
of thousands who cross the land border daily for study, tourism or business and
nearly one million U.S. citizens who live in Mexico), violence in the country
has increased. It is imperative that U.S. citizens understand the risks
in Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and who to contact if
victimized. Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate
business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where
prostitution and drug dealing might occur, can help ensure that travel to
Mexico is safe and enjoyable.
Recent violent attacks have prompted the U.S. Embassy to urge U.S. citizens to
delay unnecessary travel to parts of Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua states and
advise U.S. citizens residing or traveling in those areas to exercise extreme
caution. Drug cartels and associated criminal elements have retaliated
violently against individuals who speak out against them or whom they otherwise
view as a threat to their organizations. These attacks include the abduction
and murder of two resident U.S. citizens in Chihuahua.
What, then, should be done
if you have a visa appointment scheduled in Juarez? Prior to departing from the
U.S. and with the understanding that the situation could change even as you are
on a flight headed for Mexico, check to see if the Consulate is open. Next, go prepared to stay longer than
anticipated in the event of a temporary closure and hope that your extra
preparations will not be needed. This, unfortunately, is the new Mexico in 2010
and all those processing at Consulates in that country must be prepared for the
worst, while hoping for the best.