Last week's trip to the USCIS office has left me very reluctant to blog. On one hand, I know that it is cathartic to post about my experiences and frustrations with this entire immigration process, but on the other hand, I am afraid to see my thoughts written in black and white. As such, I have been completely absent from the internet.
I have done a lot of soul searching over the past few days, wondering if I really want to spend the rest of my life in a country that seems to have such a disdain for immigrants. Wondering if I have it in me to continue to play this waiting game with the USCIS and continue to watch them bungle my case while those that I know spout toxic talk of how a fence would solve this country’s immigration woes. I finally decided to be honest with myself and with my husband, and realized that the answer is no. I just don’t have it in me to continue this struggle for the freedom to live my life.
I watched the Olympics last night. The winter sports have provided me with a nice diversion to reality. I have been struck by how many Olympians change their citizenship at the last minute so that the can compete under a different flag. One story, however, stood out - that of Tugba Karademir
. When she was 12 years old her family decided to move from her native Turkey to Barrie, Ontario so that she could realize her potential as a figure skater. In NBC's profile, they mentioned that her father had trouble with the move to Canada. Having to learn English, unable to find work, and being so far from his family and his country took an emotional toll on him. He recently moved back to Turkey while Tugba and her mother continue to live in Canada.
The story of Tugba's father touched me. I recognize many of the issues that he has struggled with, despite the fact that my transition from Canada to the United States was easier in many respects. All in all, Canadian and American culture is not that different, the language is virtually the same. In all regards things should have been easier for me. Unfortunately, they weren't. It has been years now that I have been unable to work, unable to have a driver's license, uncomfortable when asked for my social security number at the doctor’s office, unable to go home to Canada. It has taken a toll on my identity and my very core. I no longer feel the part of the immigrant. I have become a prisoner - trapped in bureaucracy and depression.
Last week's appointment at the immigration office destroyed what little hope that I had left of a return to a "normal" life. It also solidified much of what I had been feeling up to this point. It has not been easy to move from a country that I love, leave behind family and friends, miss the funerals and weddings of those that I love, and to have to start over at square one and rebuild my life. My husband has been ever the optimist with all of this, believing that our appointment last week would wield some change. Unfortunately, it did little other than expose how flawed this system really is and prove that there is no end in sight to my immigration limbo.
After much discussion, we have decided to tie up our loose ends on this side of the border and plan a move to Canada. From what I understand, Canada's immigration system runs a little more smoothly than that of the United States. As positive as my husband has become about this possible move, I worry and wonder what penalties I will face as a result of abandoning my case with the USCIS. I suppose that a call to our immigration lawyer will reveal the answer to that question. It is horrible to realize that we are to be constantly plagued by immigration worries and missing the homeland on either side of the border. No matter where we live, someone will have to play the role of the immigrant.Sorry folks, but I am turning off the comments to this post. I am far too frustrated with this entire situation to discuss it any further. With any luck, things will get sorted out before my patience runs out. Keep your fingers crossed. ;)