Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Miracle

I expected Monday to be an awful day.  I expected to buy a one-way plane ticket from my best friend and experience that loss all over again.  I expected to turn in his suitcase to some smirking immigration agent.  I expected to have another bad episode triggered by what I was told was likely to happen.  There was no way on heaven or earth that we could have anticipated what was going to take place.

Alberto called me just as I was leaving Ashley’s Preschool, which was odd as he should have been in route to the USICE holding area for his court appearance by that time.  He said that the guys had come at 5 am like usual, but they told him that he didn’t have court today so he didn’t get to go.  Naturally he was a little upset, thinking that we received yet another continuance, but I told him I’d do what I could to get to the bottom of it.  I asked Alberto to call me back in 30 minutes so I could call Lance to see if he knew what was going on.  I went straight to USICE and stared down the guards blocking my entrance.  I held back my snappy retort through the sheer force of my will, but I don’t know that I would be that strong if I have to come back again.  I swear they must enjoy playing the fool since there is no good reason to spend my days in a building full of irritating and often dense immigration officials just because I want to.  The largest guard actually pawed through my purse this time; must be because of the ‘shanks’ I carry to help while away the hours.  Lance calls my circular knitting needles my ‘shanks and ligature’ even though the steel barreled pen in my purse is a more formidable weapon in my eyes.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Let there be tacos

I don’t know about you, but I like to keep an eye out on the plight of the immigrant in other states besides the one I reside in.  Maybe I’m looking to keep my options open should I ever decide to leave the frozen north, but I feel better for it.  The latest news is from East Haven Connecticut, where four police officers have been arrested by the FBI in regards to human rights violations and racial profiling.  Joseph Maturo, the mayor of this town, was interviewed about the accusations and accusations.  He stated that the officers ‘were innocent until proven guilty’.  When asked about his plans for outreach in the Latino community, Maturo thought for a moment before saying, "I might have tacos when I go home. I'm not quite sure yet," he mockingly responded. Since that comment he has apologized for being insensitive and claims that his comment was taken out of context.  You can decide for yourself by watching the interview at this link.   The response of the community and its supporters was hand-delivered to Maturo’s office at 1:30 pm Thursday in the form of 500 tacos.  The article says that the tacos were later delivered to soup kitchens in the area to feed the people in need, although it doesn’t say whose idea that was.  I think the point was made though, and I hope it makes someone jockeying for position in the presidential race think about the state of our country for a moment.

My bank lovingly received my paycheck this morning, only to hemorrhage 90% of the funds in a matter of hours.  I’m hoping to be able to file my taxes this weekend, although I’m on the fence about how to do them.  Should I use Turbo Tax like I did every year before we got married, or go to the accountant in the same building as Lance’s law firm that I used the first 2 years after we got married.  My cousin Kim would normally do my taxes from H&R Block since she would give me the friends & family discount.  There is no way I would pay what they would charge me otherwise, my receipt last year said I saved $240 after paying $20 for my federal and state returns.  I can’t afford to pay that much for essentially the same services I get through Turbo Tax.  The accountant would even be cheaper!  I will receive a decent refund again this year, but sadly the majority of the funds will go to paying off collections, paying down debt, and going into reserve for immigration.  Whatever is left over will be used to buy something fun for my loved ones.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I consider today to be somewhat of a disappointment, but I suppose it could have been worse.  We had our third immigration hearing this morning and the weather certainly made driving interesting.  The commute that normally takes under 30 minutes lasted a full hour and 45 minutes thanks mostly to snow stupor syndrome*.  I have a definition at the bottom of the post for those of you that are unfamiliar with this horrible disorder although I suspect a great majority of my readers may have observed something similar.  Lance arrived shortly after 9:30 am for the hearing and muttered his apologies, faulting the excessive traffic for his tardiness.  I expect to arrive well ahead of the attorney in any given situation, so I wasn’t surprised in the least.  Actually, I had been late myself, arriving about 10 after 9.

I have to say that the USICE office here in Minnesota is a downright depressing place to be.  You first begin to feel the woe when you enter the hallway to be inspected before you’re allowed into the bowels of this immigration hell.  The uniformed officials are cleverly disguised agents of evil that fix you with a potent glare and demand to see your hearing letter.  I send my own potent glower at the head agent respond coolly that I am HERE for my HUSBAND, daring him to make an issue of my presence.  I’m surprised they haven’t posted a sign in the room that says Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.  What else could our broken immigration system be if not one of the Nine Circles of Hell created by the same people whose souls will be condemned to Eighth Circle?

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I cannot believe the people that hold positions of power within our government, they have the superiority complex of a ‘B’ movie villain.  An USICE official, a Boris Badenov type, took the liberty of submitting an Opposition to the Motion to Terminate Proceedings on Friday, a scant hour before closing up for the weekend.  Thank God Lance is the type of attorney that anticipates such underhanded tactics from our government, and was able to respond to the opposition before the closing hour arrived. 

The Opposition from the USICE contained erroneous ‘facts’ and made baseless assumptions in order to deny my husband the opportunity to be reunited with his family as a legal resident of the United States.  They state that Alberto was paroled into the United States for prosecution, at the conclusion of which he became inadmissible under INA § 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) as an alien convicted of a CIMT.  They argue that Alberto was clearly an applicant for admission because he was not in Mexican custody prior to this latest entry into the US and Alberto had petitions approved that could eventually lead to his legal admission into the US.  It is also clear that after being at the consulate in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico, respondent voluntarily presented himself at a port of entry to try to reenter the United States, perhaps to return to Minnesota to resolve the outstanding criminal charges, and during inspection was paroled into the United States for prosecution, and turned over to EL Paso Police for extradition to Minnesota.  Clearly respondent voluntarily came to the port, applied for admission, was inspected and paroled in” Well, it is clear to me that this particular payaso tiene la cabeza metida por su culo.  They have no shame or sense of humanity whatsoever.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Delay of Game

I know I didn’t write anything right after the hearing on Thursday and some people may be wondering what had happened.  It was one hell of a long day let me tell you.  I was up by 5:45 am to shower and get dressed since I was anticipating a fight of epic proportions from Ashley just to get her out of bed.  It didn’t go so bad actually so we go out of the house earlier than I expected.  The hearing was scheduled for 9 am, but Lance had asked me to get there by 8:30 am because the Pro Bono attorney would try to get her hearings done first unless I held the spot.  I was in Bloomington by 7:15 am, so I figured breakfast was in order.  I went to Denny’s and read my Kindle for a while.  I was still at the USCIS/ICE office before 8:30, but at least I wasn’t the only one there.

Lance arrived close to 9 am and the judge walked through the waiting room shortly afterwards.  The Judge grunted, “Which one of you is the pro bono attorney today?”  I watched as all the other attorneys avoided eye contact while looking through their files or checked their phones for emails.  Lance seemed bewildered and asked, “Wasn’t Amy supposed to be the Pro Bono today?”  Apparently Amy had a conflict on her calendar and wasn’t able to keep her obligation to the immigration court and now 25 people were without representation.  Lance glanced at the docket thoughtfully, and then called his wife.  He asked her when she was going to be done across the street because he needed help, and she said she would come as soon as she was finished.  Lance went to the window and asked for the paperwork on the Pro Bono cases to start reviewing who he could get done quickly without assistance since he didn’t speak much Spanish.  He rushed a few people through hearings before our hearing before the Judge.

We were brought into the courtroom the last hearing was held in a month ago, and the proceedings began.  The Judge obviously didn’t know what was going on with Alberto’s case, and the government attorney was as clueless as I’d assumed.  He was a mousey looking man, almost like Drew Carey prior to the weight loss only not as good looking.  The judge wanted clarification so the hearing was taken off the record and Lance began to explain why they couldn’t deport my husband.  He explained how Alberto was brought into the country for criminal proceedings, and how he must be allowed a reasonable amount of time to depart on his dime after the parole is terminated.  Alberto was not afforded this opportunity so the government had violated his rights.  Lance went on to explain that we still do not know what type of parole granted so we are unable to determine if Alberto is eligible for relief or if we should terminate proceedings to return him to Mexico without a final order of deportation.  The government attorney jumped in at that point, stating that we should go ahead with the termination of the proceedings and earned a sigh from Lance.  You see, the government attorney was unable to determine what kind of parole Alberto was granted to enter the US, and he was unable to locate the rulings that outlined Alberto’s rights as an immigrant.  We heard him muttering a steady stream of ‘what the hell’ as he was desperately searching for the documentation.  The solution was another continuance because the Judge refused to spend 30 minutes on a single immigration hearing, with admonition that the attorneys submit their motions prior to the hearing so that the Judge could have a decision ready.  Lance politely agreed to the continuance, which was scheduled for the 23rd of January.

Monday, January 2, 2012

No Brain Required

So here we are yet again, held captive with no other choice but to wait and see.  Have I mentioned before how much I hate the whole ‘wait and see’ philosophy of life?  The attorney representing the government has shown us that they are incapable of thinking logically.  Lance requested a copy of the parole documentation on Alberto in order to prepare our petition for relief which we need to bring to the hearing.  I guess the difference in what type of parole was granted will determine if Alberto can adjust status here, or if he will have to return to Mexico first.  The government attorney told Lance that he would provide the document for him at the hearing Thursday.  Lance countered with the fact that we are expected to identify the type of relief we are seeking, which we cannot prepare for if we don’t know which type of parole Alberto was given.  I wonder what it would be like to work somewhere where the application states, ‘Brain preferred but not required’.  I’ll admit my opinion of government employees is at an all-time low, but if you read the news I’m sure you understand how that opinion was formed.

There is something that I want more than anything in the world right now, that I would give anything to be able to do.  I want to pick up the phone and call my husband just to hear his voice.  It doesn’t matter that we usually don’t have much to talk about or that I visit him 3 times a week now, I want to call him and hear his voice.  I want to talk to him about everything and nothing.  I want him to be here, suffering through this by my side.  I want to wash his clothes and complain about the condition of his socks; I just bought these last week how did you already get holes in them?!  I want to annoy him with my rampant disorganization that comes when I decide to clean everything all at once.  I want to go to Taqueria Los Ocampos and make him order for me because the girl at the counter looks at me funny.  I want a lazy Sunday spent watching an action movie, followed by whatever comedy I picked out.  I want to be awake at 2 in the morning; not because I can’t sleep, but because my husband has been talking for 3 hours and there is no end in sight.  I want everything I took for granted while Alberto was here with me.  I want Ashley to run to her PapĂ­ to ask him after I already said no, even though that would probably irritate the ever living crap out of me.  I will take whatever I can get.