Thursday, November 16, 2006

Immy-grants and me

I've never been one to bash un-documented immigrants, for the thousands of reasons anyone using "logic" can come up with. But over the past 8 months, I've gained an even deeper appreciation for why folks who want to come to our fair nation would be inclined to bypass the official process.

The word Kafka-esque is thrown around a lot these days (isn't it?), but if you have ever dealt with immigration in any way, you'll know what I mean. If you haven't, watch Brazil, and then you'll begin to understand what it's like dealing with the INS.

To put it all in context, my brother came back from Thailand last spring with a fiance. Since he works a real job and can't always be shuttling her back and forth to the immigration office, (conveniently located in Burnsville, because we all know how common it is for recent immigrants to own dependable vehicles) this fell upon me. Highlights include the day they canceled the application process because they forgot to send her a letter telling her about her next appointment, which she then didn't show up for for some reason (probably because she didn't know about it), and then sent her files to storage in D.C., even though they are not supposed to do that until 2 months after closing the file. So who do you think was responsible for paying the $150 fee to retrieve the files that shouldn't have been sent off in the first place, and even if they were supposed to be sent off, should not have been sent for at least another 45 days? At least, in their defense, we also got an extended stern lecture about how their mistake was somehow entirely our fault.

I could tell many more such ridiculous stories, but it would take years to document them. All told, it took my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law, and myself (total number of college degrees held between us: 12) two years and well over $2,000 to complete the application process for a greencard.

But it all came to culmination today as Nok finally received her 2-yr. green card, not more than 15 minutes ago.

Of course, that means that in 2 years we have to start the process all over again, but for now, we can at least breathe a sigh of relief and relax for a minute.

But do me a favor, will you? The next time you hear someone complain about "illegal" immigrants, punch them in the face for me, please.

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