It’s no secret that I’ve had to deal with immigration. When I moved to Spain, I had to get a student visa, which included going out to California to deal with the Embassy.
After I started dating my hubby, we dealt with immigration going the other way. After we’d been dating a few months, I really wanted him to meet my family. We arranged for him to come over Christmas, and he applied for a visitor’s visa.
Everything went well, and he went in for his interview. No more than a few minutes later, he got the response.
We tried again over the summer, and same answer.
Finally, the next Christmas, we pulled out all the stops. My dad wrote a letter to the government, saying that my boyfriend was a personal guest, and that he would take responsibility for any of his actions.
Before he left the interview, my hubby asked the interviewer to please explain what he was doing wrong. Three times couldn’t be a mistake. He wasn’t on any lists, and he didn’t have a criminal record.
The interviewer was compassionate, and he let my hubby on a secret.
He wouldn’t ever get a visitor’s visa. He was poor, young, and a male from South America. Three strikes, which meant they couldn’t trust him to not stay illegally and work. Despite everything we’d done, to prove we were in a relationship, even though the plane tickets we’d bought were round trip. Those three little things kept him from meeting my family.
Is it any wonder why the immigration system seems broken? People who actually pay to enter are punished, and those who can’t afford it, or who don’t want to do it legally can find a way? Every time I hear about the illegal immigrants, I think about that experience. Maybe they were too frustrated, trying to do it legally, that they were forced into doing it illegally. Maybe, in trying to protect our borders, we’ve only made them weaker. If we could fix the gate, we might not need to monitor the wall so much.