Saturday, August 14, 2010

Getting the 'Scoop'

I figured out pretty quickly that the only way to get information from Islamabad or the Department of State or local offices of USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services, formerly INS. . .) is the dedicated help of elected officials. I enlisted the help of two, one of whom, sadly, has since retired. The retired official's immigration liaison was the most militant lady I think I've ever spoken to. By the time I spoke to her for the first time, I had discussed my case with several prominent attorneys and held my own. I had discussed very intricate sections of law and even introduced a few of them to some new aspects of processing. This lady made me shake in my boots. Everything she did was done in the most "word efficient" way possible. She wanted to know only the most important facts and she wanted to know them quickly. She made it clear that she was only going to help if you were, for lack of a better term, worthy. I felt that every second I was on the phone with her I had to make count.

Before contacting her, I had spent three months waiting on my worthless other Senator's (who unfortunately has not retired) liaison who accomplished less than nothing. I allowed him to work on the case for three months with no news and not a single call back to me. The expedient woman had my case number for three days and I had information back, VALUABLE information. For the USCIS aspect of the case, I had my House Representative's immigration liaison taking care of things. . . I think I just feared asking Ms. Expedient for too much. I was kind of afraid she might abandon me if I became too needy. Through much online research I found that Islamabad typically takes around six months to clear simple stuff and at exactly seven months after we submitted the divorce certificate, the case miraculously came out of administrative processing (aka, black hole of death.)

At that point, the consulate contacted me to tell me that they needed me to file two waivers, a 601 waiver, better known in immigration circles as the "Hardship Waiver" and the I-212, which I knew I had to file, for the expedited removal that I wrote about earlier. I had been preparing for this and immediately started drafting letters explaining why my husband did not need the 601 waiver. . .mostly because he had not broken a law that required the 601 waiver. I worked all day, and once home, was awake until 3:00 in the morning drafting and faxing the letter. It was two pages long, plus evidence, the fax ended up being about five pages. I sent it to the Immigrant Visa Specialist and the Consul General of Montreal. I also sent a hard copy. I then faxed a copy to both my Senator and my House representative to request that they write a letter in support of my letter and attached a copy of the fax I had sent. With all of this done, I settled in for ANOTHER wait.