A TALE OF IMMIGRATION
Irene and I came to the States in August of 1978. The intention was to get married in New York and then return to London. There were logistics at work around that decision besides love and the opportunity to do some sightseeing in the States while sorting things out musically. I needed my green card then Irene could apply for a permanent European resident’s permit; thus giving us much wiggling room in our travels between the two continents. I had done all the heavy lifting at the US embassy in London and I entered the country with a fiancé visa. It was a matter of a few simple formalities and a couple of weeks before being granted full time resident alien status.
“The bitch” was an Ann Coulter clone with a gold necklace that said “no shit!” She looked at me like scum had crawled its way into her space.
“Profession?” she demanded.
“Musician,” I answered.
“I need your union card,” she spat.
I sensed some trouble was brewing because of the invalidity of the request - I told her so. She pretended not to hear.
“OK, I need your marriage certificate!.”
“I sent it to you with everything else you asked for…” I answered, puzzled.
“No you didn’t; who is your attorney?”
”I don’t have one and I don’t need one; theoretically, we shouldn’t have an issue here,” I said.
We no doubt had an issue now…
She scheduled a new appointment for six months down the line and added a list of what I had to send ahead of time.
Six months passed, same fiasco, she didn’t receive the stuff… She rescheduled with the same list and instructions.
Six months later, ditto…
And so, it became predictable routine.
I have a good disposition, reasonable amounts of patience, and initially, I was somewhat intimidated by the US, but when the line gets crossed something takes over, and "the bitch" was about to be served…
Never underestimate someone because he has an accent, doesn't wear a suit, and grows his hair down to his butt… I knew Senator Jacob Javits’s secretary through my mother in law, and she advised me to write a letter in my best English to explain the situation, that she would then personally deliver to the honorable gentleman. For the occasion, my best English was a vivid description of my INS experience, highlighting the many elements of corruption, starting with bribery scams involving attorney/officer teams, and followed by a string of psychological abuse comprised of lies and threats. Javits answered within two weeks in his own handwriting, telling me that the New York and Washington INS offices were under investigation and that I should expect my green card in the mail shortly. It took exactly two weeks. With it came a box filled with all the lost documentation, including the original marriage certificate and its three copies… I later met a New York INS worker who told me that the feds were all over the place interrogating officers and combing files. As the story went, they found my items behind a filing cabinet…Classic.
Oh, and by the way, "the bitch" was never seen again. “No shit!”
In summary, it took two years instead of the two weeks for the green card to arrive, and by then there was no longer a point in getting back to the UK. The momentum had been lost and my hopes of picking up where I had left were gone… I had to accept that in the end, it was the better probability, but saddly, it took nearly two decades before I could convince myself of it…