The Solomonic wisdom of an immigration consultant

By Cristina Dc Pastor

He agrees: The system is broken; a border wall can fix it.

“TNTs are my clients,” declared Gonzalo ‘Jun’ Policarpio, an immigration consultant. “I try to solve their problems.”

TNT or ‘tago ng tago’ — always hiding in Tagalog – are Filipino migrants on the run.  They flit from state to state, job to job, perpetually fearful an innocuous traffic stop might bundle their family into a plane bound for Manila. They vanish into the woodwork, try to blend in and not call attention to themselves. They simply refuse to go back home, convinced a life in the shadows is preferable to the harsh struggle of getting by in the Philippines. TNT is so redolent with meaning for Filipino Americans. It is often mentioned with a wry sense of humor and a lot of heartbreak for dreams that go a-glimmering in the dark of a detention cell.

Not all TNTs are people he would likely assist, Policarpio pointed out. “Unless they are aggravated felons like drug dealers, rapists, murderers, etc., no dice.”

The author of the book “Shaking the Secret Underworld of the Unjust: The Glitter of 30 Pieces of Silver,” there are few immigration consultants in the Filipino community, he said.

“I have not heard of a real immigration consultant in the Filipino community. Most are lawyers and paralegals,” he said when interviewed by The FilAm. The difference being a lawyer operates within a box, meaning a set of laws and regulations, while a consultant thinks beyond and outside of it.

“He solves problems, thinking out of the box to pursue innovative ideas. His goal is to create something better and fitting to solve the problem, he is the ultimate problem solver,” he said.

The epitome of the archetypal consultant, in his view, is King Solomon of the Old Testament. “He successfully solved the problem of two women claiming parentage of a baby without using a DNA test.”

Signing copies at his book launch on July 2018 at the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue. Photo by Jan Andrada

For example, said Policarpio, one of the innovative ways to pursue a stalled case is to appeal to the discretionary powers of an immigration officer. It should be based on several factors, among them the gravity of the case. He ought to know whether this tack would work. He was an officer of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service or USCIS)  for about 12 years, rising through the ranks to become supervisor. He wrote about his years with the INS in his book where he practically became a whistleblower calling attention to the fraudulent entry of some foreigners tied to terror activities.

The ideal direction is for an undocumented immigrant to work with both a lawyer and a consultant, he stated.

“It is best for an undocumented alien to utilize the services of both an immigration consultant and an immigration lawyer to obtain an immigration benefit. But if the situation does not require litigation before an immigration judge, talking with a consultant is enough,” he said.

Policarpio is a life-long Republican and agrees Donald Trump should build a wall to keep out immigrants.

“Consider miles and miles of unguarded land borders including the Great Lakes of Canada and Mexico encompassing Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, New York, Arizona, and Texas,” he said. “The President is empowered by the Constitution to regulate or control entry and exit of all persons both citizens and non-citizens in the United States.”

So is the immigration system truly broken?

He replied, “By the increasing number of illegal aliens entering the country makes the system broken.  Absence of a complete Border Wall is a problem.  Snakeheads and coyotes are having a feast smuggling aliens through the border for at least $50,000 per head.”

Policarpio is a consultant also on issues, such as employment discrimination, whistleblowing, running for public office, and strategic intelligence.

© The FilAm 2019

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