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calendar   Tuesday - November 08, 2011

Part One … the compassionate, understanding and warm hearted folks at US Immigration.

Pt. one of two

The article by the brilliant MELANIE PHILLIPS in the Daily Mail really hits home due to a recent experience with the KGB, or as it’s known in the USA, US Immigration.
Our ppl appeared to me to be a cross between the Gestapo and the KGB altho I hardly know the difference if there was one, between the two.  One thing I do know for sure.
Our guys don’t have the sartorial good taste in uniforms that the Nazis did.  Just the bad manners and bully boy attitude.

This has been gnawing away at me for more then a month.  While the wife is over it, I’m still greatly bothered. Would it kill anyone at US Immigration to be helpful? OK, forget helpful. They don’t get paid for that.  How about ‘civil?’ I’d settle for that.

As I wrote Drew at the time, I had never met so many stone faced, unhelpful, unkind, unfriendly, unsympathetic, unyielding and moronically aggressive people all at once under one roof. 

There are a few here at BMEWS who know a bit about my circumstances and so some of this is a re-telling. That’s because those who aren’t aware will see our story for the first time and I have to go to the beginning, which is 2004.

My wife was the only daughter of the mil, who with old age could no longer live alone.  She had not yet become bedridden, that was in the near future. She was a burden which later became a curse.  If there’s one thing to be understood, it’s that there isn’t any substitute for an only daughter.  Just ask any mother who has a good relationship with her daughter.  I understood that, and didn’t think twice when it became apparent that the wife and I would have to move to England to care for her mother.  And before anyone asks, no.  It was not even remotely possible to have the old lady move in with us in America.  So in 2004 we pulled up stakes in CA., sold everything and stored what needed saving, and arrived here in the rain and cold on April 28 of ’04.  I kept a journal over the years we cared for the mil, one of these days I may post them.

There are rules and laws and sometimes we may not understand the logic of them, but we always assumed and especially after 9/11, that rules were in place for a good reason. Among our many rights, we never believed it was right to circumvent a law just because it wasn’t convenient.  Not only that, but there are fines and jail and who needs that, for people who flaunt the law.

One of the very strict rules of Homeland Security is that any foreigner who leaves the USA and stays away for a year, must return in that year to simply get their passport stamped. The USA didn’t care if you returned on the next plane, but you must get that passport stamped. Which meant of course that the wife would have to fly to NY to do that at US Customs and Immigration.  Now then …. we applied for and the wife got a years extension on that, which you can get one time only.  And I think we paid for the privilege, altho my memory on that is a bit murky. The wife says we did.

I won’t go into detail here with all we found upon arrival, the things that had to be tossed (secretly) to make room in this small place, and the leaking roof which resulted in the removal of one of the two chimneys.  There was a mountain of work to be done, and for those who do not know, this house was built in 1924, and hadn’t been maintained by the mil to the degree needed for house this old. But again, that’s for another time.  I’m simply trying to convey the idea that things weren’t as simple as just moving in. Far from it. 

At first, the mil could make it into the kitchen on her own with the aid of a walker.
She could use the bathroom with no help. Sadly, that didn’t last long.  By the end of ’04 she could no longer do those things and had a portable potty in her room. By Mid December of 2005, she was entirely bedridden.  We did have help from social services after having to spend down some of her savings, which really weren’t much to begin with.  Depending on which team came to the house, they weren’t always easy to get along with and I posted about them a few years ago.  They changed the old dears diapers twice a day.  My wife, on her own, did the other two changes. And that was not easy on her.

A word is necessary about my wife’s health so you’ll know why she decided to not to comply with the return rule in 2006, when she was due to return to the USA, just to have her passport stamped.  When folks here would ask how my wife was coping, I’d tell them she was “committing suicide by mother” Ha Ha. Dark American humor. Or so they thought. But I wasn’t kidding.

Some years before, the wife had a couple of accidents which resulted in broken bones and torn ligaments.  One was the result of being hit by a small pick up truck carrying fire wood. The kid went through a stop sign and demolished the wife’s car.  She was lucky to be hit on the passenger side. The car was totalled and she had all sorts of damage to herself.  The other accident years before that was in a fall on stage at the Grand Ole Opry.  They used to have these bleachers on stage behind the performers.
It was dark up there, you could hardly see the ppl on stage in the bleachers from the audience.  (No, we didn’t sue the Opry) She was coming down the stairs when her ankle turned on the last step or the one above it. She was badly hurt and in a cast on one leg almost up to her hip for months.  This old scratchy photo was taken during that first recovery. 
She has never fully recovered, has continuous pain, and there’s arthritis as well.

image

So then, here she is changing diapers, doing the shopping cos I can not drive here, and more or less playing mother to her mother.  By the time 2006 rolled around, she was just not in any shape to be getting in a car or worse yet a bus and making the trip to the airport in London.  She also had the very real worry that her mother could pass away and she wouldn’t be here for her. 
If you try and explain all that to officialdom, you very quickly discover that not only aren’t they listening, they don’t care.  They really do not.  There is no such thing as
Extenuating Circumstances. They wanted her passport stamped. Period.
Since the American Embassy is US soil, we asked if she could go there, given her health and circumstances.  Nope. Can’t do.
And so in 2006, we set ourselves up for the trouble that followed in 2010, and worse this year on our trip back home on Sept. 13, 2011, when she was pulled aside and taken to an interrogation room like some sort of illegal.  And technically, she may have been. 

It’s late, I’m tired and so ....

CONCLUSION TOMORROW


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/08/2011 at 07:52 PM   
Filed Under: • Homeland-SecurityPersonal •  
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