Archives For immigration

Ask an immigrant

February 3, 2017

I posted this as a response to someone and I think it bears repeating and expanding a little.

as an immigrant, someone who has been through the process (including being denied re-admission and spending the night in a detention center in an orange jumpsuit), i’d like to point out a couple of issues that no one seems to be addressing.

1. Permanent Residents (green card holders) who are/were out of the country are being denied re-admission and forced to sign documents to give up their permanent resident status. There are only a few reasons for revoking permanent resident status and outside of a felony conviction, they generally require an order from an immigration judge for which the petitioner should be present.

1b. The Permanent Resident process requires at least two in person interviews, usually takes two or three years to complete and runs somewhere in the vicinity of $5,000-8,000 in fees without the use of a lawyer. This process also requires multiple sets of paperwork to be filed. There are the initial application forms, change of address forms, biographic information forms. Any error, either deliberately or by omission will usually result in your application being denied and the process beginning again. Additionally, permanent residents are fingerprinted and photographed on multiple occasions and required to have a physical at USCIS appointed doctors only.

2. any one that was in transit and arrived in the US when the EO was rolled out and denied admission at that time cannot reenter the country or apply for a new visa without a waiver for 5-10 years, at least.

2b. Refugee visas require more in-person interviews than Permanent Residents, and include interviews with the FBI.

People believe immigration to the US is a simple process. It is not. It is a multi-year, highly intrusive and in some cases, expensive process during which every facet of your life is under a microscope. Saying we haven’t been vetted is insulting both to immigrants and the people that do the work. #askanimmigrant

Yearning to be free…

January 28, 2017

I didn’t emigrate to the US out of fear or to escape an oppressive regime. I emigrated for love, and I jumped through a lot of hoops. I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to wait on the slowly turning wheels of bureaucracy while in fear for your life.

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In Nashville it is very common to hear people make ugly comments about illegal immigrants. The city has even gone as far as allowing law enforcement officials to detain people they believe to be in the country illegally. But the process to become a legal immigrant is long and costly.

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i am surprised that i would ever have to use the immigration tag on a post again. i thought after two, three, four, i honestly lost track, years of dealing with the multiple name changes bureaucracy that is the INS i was done and i would have to mention them again. not so lucky.

the story is a follows, all those eons ago when victoria and i were filling out form after form after form, they all required you put in the names of your children. no problem, right? well it shouldn’t be, except lo and behold yesterday my younger daughter presented herself at the us embassy in trinidad to get her student visa so she could take advantage of a scholarship and the consular officer declared that there is an immigrant visa application associated with her name so he’s denying her application on those grounds.

i don’t even know where to begin with this. actually i do. one of the cornerstones of my job is to assume positive intent. i tried, for about 30 seconds i tried and then i realised that if this particular consular officer had taken the same 30 seconds that i gave him to do his job right i wouldn’t be typing this post.

in 30 seconds he might have seen that it was an 8 year old application for her parent that was processed and approved. in another 30 seconds that the child had a visitor visa issued within that 8 year period and had travelled to the us and returned, twice.

so here we are with two weeks before the child is due to report and we have little recourse. our congressional consular liaison sent a request for the embassy in trinidad to reconsider and approve the application and the school is also attempting to get them to reconsider. barring that we can throw more money at the embassy, reapply and hope for a different officer and a more sensible response.

back in the saddle again

April 6, 2009 — 1 Comment

having gone through the immigration process once to get my residency, i can tell you there is nothing simple or cheap about it. and the odds are stacked against you from the get go.

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the US empire is built on a dream that wave after wave of immigrants have flocked here to fulfil.

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i am paying the INS, BCIS, USCIS, Department of Homeland Security, whatever you want to call them to be inefficient and as an anal retentive planner, that just pisses me right off.

i`m currently living in the US on a K-3 visa; which allows for the spouse of a US citizen to regularise their living situation while the await applications in process. currently we have my change of status application in process for me to become a permanent resident. my K-3 visa was issued last March and is valid for two years, which means it expires in March 2006. keep this date in mind, there will be a quiz later.

according to the receipt i received when my application to change my status was received, this application takes between 120 -180 days to process. so if my math is correct, my application should be approved some time between September 7 and November 30, using a 5 day work week plus a couple of days for holidays in between, which means i should need to renew my K-3 visa or the attendant work authorisation right?

i wish, nothing related to bureaucracy is ever simple. i had to call to make an appointment for biometric services; read photographed and fingerprinted; and asked what the current processing time was on my application; as of March 25, 2005, the Memphis office is processing applications received on September 13, 2002. that`s a two and a half year backlog. which means i have to apply to renew my current visa and work authorisation.

and now it`s going to cost me at least another $310 in actual fees and who knows how much in time and just sheer frustration to get this done and all over again. all thanks to the bureaucratic inefficiency. isn`t there someone i can sue for this?

following two epic drives and a whirlwind three full days in the Capitol, we are returned, there is a more detailed posted above, so i`m editing this cover the stuff that occurred while we were away, mostly and the getting to and fro.

i got home to mail from the Department of Homeland Security, who informed me that my application to change status had been received and deemed fit to process. one less thing hanging over my head, however i was greatly amused to go to their website and read two completely contradictory statements; according to the information listed with my receipt number, the application should take 120 to 180 days to process, but according to the processing dates for the office in Memphis where my application should be processed they are currently dealing with applications received in September 2002, either way i`m not going to stress it.

my other piece of good news was a letter from my doctor`s office, which read as follows:

The purpose of this memo is to inform you that the ultrasound result showed a benign mass in your liver which means that this is NOT cancer. This type of mass is called a hemangioma which means a collection of blood vessels. You should not expect to find any problems related to this finding. Also, the ultrasound did not show a fatty liver pattern.

there`s more but it`s just about scheduling a follow up appointment for my doctor to explain it to me in more detail.

about the trip; specifically the getting to and fro, we broke up the drive both to and from DC in two stages. stage one on the way to DC involved an overnight stop at my mother in law`s and then stage two was a drive from east Tennessee to DC, which took about eight hours including a couple bladder relief stops, lunch and one refuelling. before i continue i have to say how happy i am with our gas sipping Neon; 35 – 42 miles a gallon on the highway and zippy too. we spent more money on food for the entire trip than we did on gas, which considering that the median gas price for the duration of the trip was in the $2.30 vicinity is a pretty good deal.

i`m not big on touristy stuff, so my primary motivation for going to DC was food. DC has a fairly large Trinidadian populace and thus; a number of things i`ve missed dearly like; roti and doubles. that said we did manage to fit in a number of things in our short visit. which brings me to my major beef, DC politics and DC tourism are remarkably similar; if you`re not part of a group, you don`t get access to anything. the national monuments are barricaded for security purposes and what limited access and immediate parking there is, is consumed by the fleets of tour buses disgorging the carefully managed masses.

i must however take this opportunity to thank our hosts, my long time friend, e.b. and her lovely and talented husband, e.g. for housing us, feeding us and making the trip fun and entertaining.

there are pictures and as soon as i have them, they will be available in a gallery.

tomorrow will be one year since i arrived on these shores. and what fun and exciting adventure it`s been.

so much has changed and so many things have gotten better since i got off than plane one year ago. i think the timing for filing this paperwork is kind of appropriate, it`s another milestone and quite possibly the final hurdle in securing our life together.

in the past year i have been welcomed completely by vic`s family, celebrated our birthdays, holidays and special days together. we`ve got to go to bed nightly without the worry of how many days it will be until we see each other again. we can sit and talk or just sit and savour each other`s company. we`ve had our disagreements but we`ve worked them out. things have been difficult but we continue to persevere. we have each other; to sound off, to comfort, to congratulate, to support.

it`s been a very good year and i`m eternally grateful, i`m truly blessed. here`s to many more of these years.

as part of my change of status application to the USCIS i had to do a medical, not at a doctor of my choosing, but at an authorised `Civil Surgeon`.

i called the help line on Friday  to get the list of doctors i could go see and this is where it started to get surreal. for my zip code there are only three of these civil surgeons and one of them is actually an hour`s drive away. that was just out of the question, so i decided to try my luck with the two in my immediate vicinity.

i called one office and started to make an appointment, but thought it would be prudent to check the cost first. it`s a good thing i don`t have heart problems, the cost of the medical was more than the cost of filing the paperwork. the second doctor wasn`t much better but it was less, but there was a reason for that, i had to go somewhere else to get an x-ray which was another charge.

now what`s criminal about this is that this isn`t the soul source of income for either of these doctors. and if they find anything wrong with you all they are supposed to do is recommend you to your regular physician for corrective measures.

as for the medical itself i`m still livid. i spent more time driving to and from the appointment and getting x-rayed. i get there ready to pay and am told, we don`t take credit/debit cards, so i have to go find and ATM take out an obscene amount of cash and bring it back. when i return a nurse takes my blood pressure; which for some reason is high, go figure and draw a vial of blood to be tested; but not before i am forced to sign a document stating that if i test positive for HIV, i`ll give them another $100 for mandatory retesting. the incompetent nurse then jabs me in a way that has my upper arm numb for the rest of the afternoon and sends me in to the exam room, where the doctor; and i use the term loosely; spends more time making idle chit-chat that conducting an exam. this is no lie, if the exam lasted 90 seconds i would be surprised. do you know the pre-exam the nurse or intern gives you when you go to a doctor for the first time; check for pupil response, check your throat, feel your abdomen, your breath sounds and have you cough? that was it. how many hundreds of dollars for an exam that could have been done by a nurse practitioner.

what the fuck? that`s criminal and they can get away with it because they are sanctioned by the USCIS, there is no way to opt out of the medical. these people are worse than the vultures that traffic people across the borders, at least you know what kind of lowlife you`re dealing with there. these people are hiding behind sanction and recognition and robbing you blind.

did i mention that if i don`t get an appointment for an interview within a year, i`m going to have to go through this process again. nice scam they got going there isn`t it? and the odds of my getting an interview in a year, not fucking likely. below is the processing time for Memphis office where my application will be processed.

I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status June 30, 2002

the date in bold is the date from which applications are currently being processed. you do the math.