Hi we will be traveling from Mexico city to Dubai with a layover of 5 hours at JFK , we have a valid US visa , and we want to meet our friends from NY at the Airport . Do we have to clear the immigration process and take the baggage and again go through the same for our connecting flight for Dubai ?
In the US, contrary to most countries, there is no sterile international transit: anyone coming from abroad will have to go through immigration (passport control), reclaim bags, and go through customs.
You will then have a desk to drop your luggage just after customs (no need to go to the check-in desk).
After that, you’re in US territory and can do whatever you like before going to your departure terminal, through security and to your gate (just budget enough time for that).