Posted on July 12, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Thursday, Jul 12 at 11:42 PM
Tattoos can say a lot about someone, but they can also hurt someone in the long run. And it appears that could be the case for some seeking a U.S. visa.
For years San Antonio attorney Lance Curtright has been practicing immigration law. He has seen just about everything...including people not being approved for a visa because of their tattoos.
“Our clients adamantly deny any gang affiliation,” said Curtright. “The tattoo is just a way to express themselves, but the council is nevertheless holding the case up while they investigate.”
The U.S. State Department said they don’t solely deny someone a visa because of tattoos, but do consider the body art as a red flag for someone who might be linked to a gang, or criminal activity.
“As law enforcement professionals have begun to better understand the relationship of certain tattoos to criminal gang membership, more attention has been paid to tattoos as possible indicators of a gang affiliation during the visa process,” said Pooja Jhunjhunwala, a State Department spokesperson.
Over the phone San Antonio resident Brenda Diaz told KENS 5 her husband has yet to have his visa approved because of his tattoos.
He has numerous tattoos, but it’s the one on his back that Diaz said is holding everything up. Diaz said her husband has an image of “Santa Muerte”. Some Law enforcement officials claim Santa Muerte can often be idolized by cartel members. But they also admit that doesn’t speak for everyone.
Diaz’ husband claims he is not involved in any organized crime, or activity. So Diaz and her husband now worry he won’t be able to move to San Antonio to live with his family.
“Yes I’m really scared for him and my kids,” said Diaz. “Like I said, it’s really hard for me, and my kids are really attached to my husband and they cry and ask for him, and I don’t know what to tell them.”
Do you think it's fair for the State Dept. to use tattoos as a factor in determining who will or will not get a U.S. visa? Join the KENS 5 Facebook conversation.