Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Immigration ate my husband

I'm so angry at Ian right now I could scream. In fact I have been screaming. Usually the f-word, at the top of my lungs, deep in the woods where no one but the coyotes and barred owls can hear me. Or so I assume.

We don't fight often. We're not fighters, us two. I've tried, but it's really not rewarding, in any way, to pick fights with him. He just won't get emotional or immature, even in the heat of the moment. He just won't stoop to my level. This is what I get for marrying a Brit.

But I don't want to pick a fight with him right now. I just want him to come home. And he can't. He can't because he's not finished with the farm -house project in France. I can live with, and expected, that.

But, as has now come to light, since his recent visit to the American embassy in Paris, he couldn't come home even if he wanted to, because his Green Card has, for lack of a better word, expired. Why is it expired? He didn't follow the rules. He didn't know the rules, and never bothered to find them out before he left America for France. He was supposed to inform someone, Big Brother, that he was leaving the country. And he was not supposed to be away for more than a consecutive year.

It never occurred to me that there were "rules," he needed to follow. I figured as long as we were married, and together, there were no borders.

This is what else I get for marrying a Brit. 

I've never been a resident alien in America before. I've only ever been an American. Land of the Free. Home of the brave.

In order to straighten this out, I need to file a petition for an alien relative, put out by the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland security? Alien relative? Holy hell.

That's my husband they're talking about. The guy who has been paying taxes in America, quite a lot when we were all in France and got penalized up the ying yang, for more than 15 years.

He was also told at the embassy that it could take up to six months to resolve.

Excuse me but f-ing hell!

 Still, it was not a bright move on his part.  Neglecting details is never a good idea. Perhaps even less bright than my recent oops of putting my new digital camera on the top of the motor boat at the lake and seeing it fall in the lake and float to the bottom. He told me, in a very fatherly way,  I wasn't very clever for that. Touch矇.  Worse still, we got wind of this potential snafu before I even left France. He assured me he had a handle on it. Argh!

But I have to swallow my anger because he needs me to help him. If I want him to come back to us, I need to help him. I have told him that I will help him, but he is living in the dog house once he finally makes it back here. 

The girls want him back. It's beyond time. The other day, while looking at a photo album with one of my older sisters, they got to a picture of Ian holding Isla's hands and helping her walk in the shallow part of the river.

"Who is that?" Nancy said, joking with her.

"That's Betsy's husband," Isla answered, with matter-of -fact precision. 

Yea. It's time for him to come home.

I want him back too. We've been apart for four months now. That was the most we had assumed it would be. But that, I realize now, was naive. When builders give estimates, you always tack on two or three months to the date. Right?

Christmas maybe??


Emma said...

oh Betsy.... words fail me. What a f**king mess. And yes, i can truly understand your anger, I also have a husband who doesn't often check the fine print, who tells me that he'll 'get to it', and then i'm the one who finds whatever important form it was under a pile of crap, not dealt with and expired. You must be beside yourself, i'm so sorry this has happened after everything else you've been through! Well, i guess they do say that what doesn't kill you will make you stronger, but that's not particularly comforting right now. :(

MT said...

I feel your pain. I can't count the number of times in Switzerland I was confronted with a rule that I had unknowingly not followed, usually accompanied by a fine. I always felt that the rules were unfair and persecutional but there was always the underlying guilt that indeed it was my fault for not checking. After 6 years I realized, it is simply not possible to check everything. All those legal forms you sign, that are 20 pages long in a font so small that you will go cross-eyed, are not possible to read. On the bright side, I have often found that the "up to 6 months" is usually only true for complicated cases. Ian, a tax-paying father and husband of western European descent should not be a complicated case. I suspect the Green card issue can be resolved quicker than the farm house issue, but that is probably not what you wanted to hear either!

Lauren A. said...

I have a phrase I use in situations like this, and it popped in my head as I read this post. "Holy Balls."

I'm so sorry dude, I've been anticipating the day you write a post about him being back. So you get some relief. Some attention. Some companionship. And I fully get the "I can't wait till you get here so I can storm out of the house on you!"

Larisa Spillman said...

Ohhhhhh, I'm SO sorry. Scream, scream and scream some more. And cry if it helps. The middle of the woods is a good place for all that. Finding this out must have felt like a slap in the face while you were dead asleep dreaming about rainbows and butterflies. Good luck. Here's hoping this all gets resolved soon. Hang in there!

Mama Badger said...

What royal krappe! Hopefully, by the time he gets back it will have worn down to slightly pinchy from outright stabby. How do people do this, though? PB is the same way!! What do you mean it didn't occur to you to check? Really??? Sigh, it will all work out, though.

txwinter said...

OH NO! You were counting the days down. This just sucks! I hate being disappointed more than anything. It would have been better had you known ahead of time that this could happen then have it dropped on you like a pile of poop from nowhere. I am so sorry! Here's hoping the snafu will unravel quickly and you get to yell at Ian in person very soon!

Laree said...

I'm so sorry! I hate it when someone else's forgetfullness hurts the whole crew.

We'll be praying a miracle happens and all the stupid red tape will go fast!

Hannah Hammonds said...

I'm married to a Kiwi (New Zealander) who never thinks to check the rules either. Just after we got married he thought he might be deported because we hadn't filled out the right forms! I thought I was going to kill him before they had the chance. However, we filled out the forms and everything worked out. Sometimes if you file in a different place its faster. For example, when we filed here it was going to take 2 years for everything to finish processing, but when we filed in New Zealand it only took months and then when we landed in LA he spent extra time going through immigration and had his green card in 2weeks. (yes, we have had to file twice since we also didn't follow the rules!) I hate having to fill out all those forms for immigration! Can't someone just realize that we're married and have kids!! Sometimes its just not fair - I'm sure screaming in the woods helps though! Good luck! :)

Kristi said...

That would make me panic something crazy. Yikes! Hope it gets sorted soon.

Robin said...

Clearly a situation that calls for the F word (although many, many situations seem to call for it at my house). I hope this gets resolved as quickly and painlessly as possible. And then you can use the ammo for years to come, to get Ian to take all the crappy jobs you don't want to do. "Listen, buddy, I got your butt back into America. The least you can do is clean up this dog vomit."

Anonymous said...

Hi Betsy,
being an "alien" myself I had a lot of help from our senator's office. They usually have an immigration specialist on staff that helps with citizenship forms. I you hit red tape they might be a better and cheaper option than a lawyer.
Fuckedifuck indeed.

Anonymous said...

If Isla's comment doesn't get his arse in gear, my dear, nothing will. That would be extremely painful to me to hear. Scream all you want. Invite the girls to scream with you. If you all scream at once, you don't get as annoyed at the noise.

Betsy said...

Thanks all. "Holy balls" indeed.
I'm channeling Julie Andrews. "I have confidence that spring will come again....!"

Kip said...

The good news is that you can mess up all things great and small for the rest of your marriage and he can't say a word - not even utter a "Not very clever, Betsy" - because you can always come back with "At least I didn't get myself locked out of the country."

That, and you will likely get one heck of a Christmas gift this year (maybe a new camera?)

Betsy said...

Kip: thanks for the much-needed silver lining.

Was Living Down Under said...

Agh. So sorry Betsy. I totally know that screaming feeling. Hope it all gets sorted soon! I didn't realize green cards expire... Didn't he get his citizenship yet? I thought you guys have been married awhile? Time and space will give you more clarity. But I totally know the feeling of wanting him home NOW!

Betsy said...

Void might be a better word. It's been compromised since he's been out of the country too long without checking back in.

Danielle said...

I just landed onto your blog this morning. So happy I did. I totally get your humor. And I completely understand your plight. I'm an American married to a Frenchman living in France. We left the US during our greencard application process without telling big brother 6 years ago. Last year on our visit to SLC we were stopped by homeland security in Chicago. Come to find out my husband has been banned from the US until 2017. Its funny how the US is very selective in what information they can find. Apparently they seem to think my husband has been living illegally in the US for the past 6 years. But strangely he conceived and delivered 3 baby girls in France. Its a mess. They are treating us both like f**ing terrorists. We have decided to wait it out. I'm not willing to go in and fight it only to have them tack on another 10 years (which is the case of another couple I know). May the immigrations Gods be with you!!! Keep us posted.

Betsy said...

Danielle: Thanks for writing. Wow.Banned until 2017. I don't blame you for waiting it out. I just stumbled on my Carte de sejour from France and wondered if it was still valid since I have been out of France for over four months. I sometimes feel as if we should all just go back, though that's not that simple. We have a lovely home here.

Megan said...

Oh, dear. What a bummer. So sorry to hear this.

Meowmie said...

I'm sorry to hear about this.

JennTheGamerMom said...

Oh Betsy, I am so so sorry to hear this. I'm going to stop complaining about my own husband's misspelling of my daughter's name on her medical card RIGHT NOW, because this one is just beyond the pale.

Is there any way we, your adoring public, can help?


Anonymous said...

And this is why my husband isn't in charge of his immigration paperwork... I tell his what to sign, when to do it and how to do it and he does it. Otherwise we'd still be living with an ocean between us. Anyways, don't know if you've stumbled across, but it's a forum for immigration and there are some very knowledgeable ppl on there and ppl who can understand what you are going through.