SOCA superstar Machel Montano's United States visa is supposed to be automatically revoked because of his four assault convictions, former consular officer of the US State Department attorney, Randy Depoo, has said.
Montano will require special permission from the US Department of Homeland Security, in the form of a waiver, in order to get a new US visa, Depoo said yesterday.
Depoo, a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, made the statements during a telephone interview with the Express yesterday.
The US Embassy in Port of Spain yesterday said it could not comment specifically on Montano's "individual visa case" in response to a query from the Express.
However, the US Embassy yesterday stated: "Generally speaking, visa applicants who have been convicted of serious crimes are ineligible for a visa to travel to the United States."
Montano was yesterday ordered to pay fines and compensation totaling $27,200, for beating four people and using obscene language.
Songwriter/producer Kernal Roberts was also ordered to pay a fine and compensation for assaulting two people.
The ruling was delivered by Magistrate Maureen Baboolal-Gafoor in the Port of Spain Magistrates' Court.
On December 10 last year, Montano was found guilty by the magistrate of assaulting Brandis Browne, Russell Pollonais, Janelle Lee Chee and Gerard Bowrin and using obscene language outside the Zen nightclub on the morning of April 26, 2007.
Depoo yesterday said once an individual is convicted of a crime that carries a maximum penalty of more than one year in prison then their US visa is supposed to be automatically revoked.
The charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, which Montano was convicted for, carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, according to Section 30 of the Offences Against the Person Act, Chapter 11:08.
The charge of common assault, which Montano was also convicted for, carries a maximum sentence of a fine of $4,000 and a term of imprisonment for two years.
"Once a person is convicted of any crime of moral turpitude that has a maximum penalty of more than a year in prison then, if the convicted person has a visa, that visa will be automatically be revoked and you know longer qualify for a visa, you have to get special permission from the Department of Homeland Security for a waiver to travel," Depoo said.
"The convicted person will not be able apply to travel to the United States unless they get a waiver. You do not qualify for a visa unless you get a waiver," he said.
Depoo said if the convicted person travels to the United States they will be sent back.
"The embassy monitors the media and they will put that (revocation of the visa) on the computer so if the convicted person travels to the United States they will be sent back," Depoo said. —See Page 5