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Entering America Legally–Not As Easy As You Think!

In an interview on David Letterman, actor Robert Downey, Jr., talked about a problem he had last year in Japan, when upon entering Japan he was detained and questioned about his past criminal record. Downey said:

I probably should have seen there was a sign that said ‘No Felons Allowed’ in English and Japanese and I haven’t had that expunged yet,” he said. “You can actually get things expunged but I’ve been pretty busy. So I was detained, I was interrogated. It was a blast.

Haven’t you settled up? Haven’t you paid your debts? Letterman asked.

Clearly I haven’t paid my debts to Japan, said Downey.


While I certainly feel somewhat bad for Mr. Downey, this short exchange gave the impression that nothing similar would ever happen in America! Hah!

U.S. Immigration Law contains restrictions that bar entry to people forever, for virtually any youthful indiscretion they have ever had, e.g. simple possession of a marijuana 20 years ago, without regard to whether or not you were actually convicted of the crime! You do not even need to have been convicted; the fact that you admit you did it will also get you barred from entry. Heck you will even be bounced from the United States after overstaying your visa for one day, leaving one day late, and then trying to come back in on that visa. Or, you will be detained and returned because the officer thinks you MIGHT be working.

So, if you were watching David Letterman and thanking your lucky stars that America is far nicer to arriving tourists than Japan–think again!

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