Friday, February 04, 2005

The Joys of Immigration

The idea of traveling to Europe, meeting a gorgeous foreigner with an amazing accent, falling and love, and getting married sounds so magical! Well, it is/was. However, there are things you just don't consider while kissing your newfound love in front of Trevi Fountain on a warm August evening. For instance, the infamous Green card. Just the sound of that word gives me a nervous twitch. Sure, we could have taken the easy route and done everything illegally like most of my husband's friends, but no, no, no, we wanted to be "good" people and do things the right way. Since June of 2003, yes, I said 2003, we have been filing an obscene amount of paperwork, getting physicals, blood tests, fingerprints, and paying hefty lawyer bills. The event that this all leads to is the Green card interview day. It just so happened that out interview date was set for the day before my birthday. "What a great birthday present," I said to myself. John will finally get his Green card and we won't have to worry about Advance Parole, paperwork headaches or lawyer bills any longer. Now, to get to the interesting part of the story. John and I take the day off work, loose much-needed money, and head downtown Chicago to see our lawyer. He preps us for the big moment by taking us through a mock interview. We go down to the Federal Building and wait in jam-packed room for about 2.5 hours. When our name finally gets called, we are taken to smaller room, only to wait for another 45 minutes. Finally, the immigration officer calls our name, along with about 20 others. She takes us all out into the hallway and starts apologizing. I was very confused. Why would she be apologizing-it's our big day? She informs us that because of changes in Homeland Security, immigration files are no longer kept in the same office where they were filed, but that they were all sent to Missouri. So, even though the office in Missouri sent out our interview notices, they failed to send the files to Chicago. She then asked us to leave because there was nothing else they could do and that we would receive another interview notice "shortly." Now, shortly to you and I do not mean the same thing as shortly to the United States Government. It just so happens that John and I have planned to relocate to Scotland for approximately two years. So as of right now, we are in limbo. My lawyer informed the officer of our nonrefundable travel plans, and she wasn't too interested. She assured us that nothing like this has ever happened before and she was sure that we could get our interview rescheduled "soon." Once again, another one of these all too broad statements. Well, it's been 9 days now and still no word. So stay tuned for the update of the Joys of Immigration!