Archive for immigration

yet another reason that the USCIS needs repair

Posted in immigration, racism with tags , , on Saturday 22 March 2008 by amanda

i don’t think it’s possible to argue that USCIS is a particularly nice agency (i’m not going to stand up for them, that’s for sure).  and, although many would like to deny that corruption exists in the United States, that simply ain’t true, folks.  so what happens when you combine an agency that has a ridiculous amount of power over the lives of immigrants (BOTH legal and illegal) and thrown in a little corruption?  here we have one example:

Published: March 21, 2008
The case of an immigration agent who is accused of demanding sex from a woman raises questions about the vulnerability of the system to corruption.

I can’t get over, or stop being angry about, the degrading position that the US government puts immigrants in.  This is beyond and totally beside whether people are here legally or illegally to begin with.  This is about treating people like human beings.

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USCIS and immigration delays

Posted in immigration, racism with tags , , on Tuesday 27 November 2007 by amanda

something that makes me incredibly angry, especially because ola (and i alongside him) have been through this process, is the USCIS and department of homeland security. with all of the debate about illegal immigration in this country, something that often gets totally ignored is the treatment that LEGAL immigrants receive. the Times today had an editorial that touched the tip of the iceberg concerning some of the problems surrounding the issue. It’s here: The Citizenship Surge

the focus of the article is largely on two things – the increased fees associated with gaining long-term visas, green cards and naturalization, and the incredibly long waits that immigrants are facing in trying to obtain a change of status. the article is very mild, as, i guess you’d expect an article to be, when written by a total outsider to this system. however, i have to say that this is something that gets me really upset, really fast. our experience with USCIS was horrible, to say the least. let’s start with customer service. the people at the counters? evil. i understand that they aren’t going to take a personal interest in our case, have long conversations with us, and that they are probably overworked and underpaid. however, we don’t need to be yelled at by the woman at the counter for no apparent reason. we don’t need to come in, and wait 3 hours in the waiting room to take care of 5 minutes worth of business. we don’t need to be spoken to like we are imbeciles.

we had the opportunity to see how many times they could lose some part of ola’s file (i think it was 3 times). the great thing is, when they lose part of your file, they don’t tell you. i guess it just sits on a desk until YOU call to see what’s wrong, and then you get yelled at for not submitting something. which, of course, we had submitted. I had a photocopy at home in our file. but that didn’t matter, because they lost the original. and they couldn’t care less about the copy i kept as proof.

a process that was supposed to take 6 months took 18+ months. only after repeated (belated) letters to our senators and representatives did the case move along. then, once it was approved, the card still did not arrive for another 4 or 5 months at least.

the final straw for all of this is that there is no recourse when you’re treated like crap by the government like this. that’s because the same people that treat you like shit can also put your file at the bottom of the pile and pretend you don’t exist for years. they also have the power to deny green cards, visas and citizenships. and after our experiences, i can believe that some people in those offices would deny somebody’s application for something like a complaint about service.

finally…people live in the US for YEARS, want to be here, get a college and often post-graduate education here, work their butts off (because as non-residents, they are not eligible for low-interest loans or any federal grants) and then have to maneuver/fight to stay and continue to contribute to the economy and the work force because of the policies that we have in place in this country.  i know an awful lot of incredibly bright people who have simply left the country instead of fighting the US system to stay and work here in industries like finance, health, law, and the social sector.  i can tell you that it’s been a loss for the US and our future here in this country every time.