Oct 20, 2006, 3:28 PM
Bubba, I agree with you 1000 percent on the INS employees in the US. My late father-in-law was an American citizen. He was a Mexican-American, born in Texas. He and his Mexican wife had three children; their oldest son was born in Texas, he has a US birth certificate and is a US citizen. Another son and my wife were born in Mexico City; they are Mexican citizens.
For whatever reasons, their births were not registered at The US Embassy as foreign-born children of American citizens. I don’t know if that would have been possible in the 1950s, since their mother was not an American citizen. However, they both are eligible for what is known as “derivative citizenship” because their father was an American citizen. We were told many times by the INS that the laws in effect at the time of their births applied to their eligibility, not the laws presently in force. Neither of them desired US citizenship for many years.
About 15 years ago my Mexican Cuñado came up to visit us in Anchorage. He had a typical horrible experience getting his visa to visit us at the Embassy in Mexico City. In those days, the office that issued visas at the embassy limited the number of people that they would interview each day. I have forgotten the number of people that were allowed to apply each day, but if they went to the office at the 8 AM opening time, they were too far back in line to get in. I don’t know if there is still a daily limit or not.
The only viable option was to go there the night before, and wait all night until the office opened in the morning. My cuñado was handicapped and needed to use those short crutches that clip to a persons forearm to walk any long distance. He used to take a folding lawn chair, a blanket, and a thermos of coffee with him to get in line the night before the embassy opened. There were always several people already in line when he would get there around 10 PM. He was never first in line.
The whole process for a Mexican citizen to get a visa to visit The US is dysfunctional. It cries out - lack of training! - lack of competent supervision!
That last time he got a visa was the straw that broke the camels back. He brought all his documentation with him and applied for US citizenship at the INS office in Anchorage. His goal in seeking US citizenship was to simply make it easier to cross the border when he wanted to visit his family in The US. My wife’s family is scattered all over Mexico, the US and Canada. Many of them are citizens by birth, or naturalization, or are legal residents.
The man that handled his application at INS proceeded to misinterpret the applicable laws, and make his own additions to them. He acknowledged that my cuñado was the son of his father, and then said that some of the dates were not correct, and simple subtraction showed that my late father-in-law could not have been in Mexico at the right time to father him???
After my cuñado’s application for his birthright was denied, he had to return to Mexico. He had gotten a two-month extension on his visa, and it was about to expire. My work in Alaska took me all over the state, and I was out in the bush when he had to leave. My wife sent me the rejection letter he had received from the INS.
When I read it, several errors jumped right off the page at me. My cuñado had already left the country, so we planned for him to appeal the decision in Mexico. Unfortunately he became very ill, and died at the young age of 48 before he could file an appeal.
We found out later that the man that rejected my cuñado’s application was an immigrant himself. He was a naturalized American citizen originally from Hungary. My wife makes friends wherever she goes. A couple of her new friends at INS informed her that he was later fired.
Since that time, my wife wants nothing to do with the INS. She talks about becoming a US citizen once in a while, but does nothing about it. She has a permanent Green card, so she has no problems when crossing the US border.
Since I mentioned her green card, I think most folks aren’t really aware that green card is a nickname for a resident card. They are not green in color; that comes from the old Bracero program. The Bracero ID cards were green colored. There are several different types of resident cards, some of them are time limited, and have an expiration date. There are professional, educators, student, etc. resident cards with expiration dates. Permanent resident cards have no expiration date.
If you move your US address, you file a change of address form with the INS. We have done that once since moving to Mexico. You are supposed to file that form within 10 days of moving, but nowhere on the form does it ask for the date that you moved
The permanent resident cards have no expiration date, as long as a US address is maintained. Contrary to popular myth, there is no limit on the time that a person can be out of the US. The card remains valid no matter how long you are absent the country. It's a good idea, but not required, for a permanent resident cardholder to carry some other documents to show if challenged, a bank statement with a US address, US issued credit cards, a valid state drivers license, etc. If you are out of the US for six years as my wife was until recently, the card is still valid, as long as you have registered with a valid US address.
Mexico is not the only country that hires people without functional brains.
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo
(This post was edited by RexC on Oct 20, 2006, 3:40 PM)